|APRIL 4, 2002|
|Knight Trading Group Discusses First Quarter Outlook; Board of Directors Authorizes Stock Repurchase Program|
JERSEY CITY, N.J., April 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Knight Trading Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: NITE) today announced that it expects to report a loss per share in the range of $0.10 to $0.12 for the first quarter ended March 31, 2002. The projected EPS range includes quarterly international expansion costs of $0.05 to $0.07. It also includes a non-recurring, non-cash charge of approximately $0.03 reflecting asset write-downs.
During Knight's fourth quarter earnings conference call with analysts, investors and the media on January 16, 2002, the Company did not provide specific guidance for the first quarter. During the conference call, the Company stated that the lack of marketplace visibility, coupled with ongoing efforts to adjust Knight's trading methodologies to the one-penny minimum price variation (MPV), made it improbable that management could project first quarter results with specific accuracy.
Market conditions in the first quarter were marked by a sharp drop in marketplace volatility, with the VIX Index dropping below 20 -- a critically important level signaling complacency in the markets, and limiting trading opportunity for market makers. The Nasdaq Composite Index suffered a loss of 5.4% over the first quarter, with volumes also declining approximately 3%. While volatility levels in listed equities were also extremely low, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) managed to close the quarter up 3.8% for the quarter, with an uptick in volume of approximately 7%.
``Market conditions continued to test efforts to adapt our equities trading platform to the current market dynamic. Despite this challenge, Knight's domestic equities market-making business was profitable in the first quarter of 2002,'' said Anthony M. Sanfilippo, Interim Chief Executive Officer. ``Knight's options market-making business was affected by the quarter's lethargic market performance, and we are still seeking the appropriate structure and payment for order flow schedule necessary to maintain our strong position in an increasingly competitive options industry. Meanwhile, asset management performance during these market conditions did not get a boost from languid merger and acquisition and IPO activity.
``We are exploring opportunities to introduce efficiencies in the U.S. and overseas,'' Mr. Sanfilippo added. ``In Europe, our losses have been reduced, but we are not satisfied with our progress. We are evaluating our operations with the goal of creating a structure that we can move -- more easily and more quickly -- toward profitability. Japan remains a bright spot, and while the first quarter was not profitable, we're pleased with its performance to date.
``Overall, Knight is carefully balancing efforts to grow market share with our primary concern -- operating profitability,'' Mr. Sanfilippo said. ``Knight has a strong, debt-free balance sheet. We remain the premier destination for institutions and broker-dealers seeking execution solutions. Their demand for liquidity is stronger than ever, with Knight providing certainty of execution by committing capital to be the other side of the trade.''
Knight will release its official first quarter results on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time (EDT). The Company will conduct its first quarter earnings conference call for analysts, investors and the media at 9:00 a.m. (EDT) that same day. The conference call will be Webcast live at 9:00 a.m. (EDT) for all investors and interested parties on Knight's Web site (http://www.knighttradinggroup.com).
Knight also announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a program to repurchase, from time to time, shares of the Company's outstanding Class A Common Stock up to a total amount of $35 million. The Company may repurchase shares in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions, depending on prevailing market conditions, alternative use of capital and other factors. The Company cautions that there are no assurances that any repurchase may actually occur. Knight Trading Group currently has approximately 124 million shares of common stock outstanding.
``The Board's decision to authorize the repurchase of shares of Knight stock underscores our confidence in the Knight business model,'' Mr. Sanfilippo said. ``Recent market conditions and the price level of our common stock have created an attractive opportunity to repurchase our shares. This repurchase program will give us the flexibility to repurchase our shares as and when warranted.''
In addition, Knight filed an amended SEC Form 10-K for fiscal year 2001 on April 3, 2002. This 10-K/A was filed to reflect changes to Note 16 Long-Term Incentive Program in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. The revisions to Note 16 solely impacted information on employee options contained in this Note. The change arose from an increased amount of surrendered employee stock options, which resulted in an increased pro forma EPS in this Note.
Knight is the liquidity center that offers superior execution services to its broker-dealer and institutional clients in over-the-counter (OTC) and listed equity securities, and in equity options. In so doing, Knight helps its clients meet their fiduciary obligation of obtaining best execution for the securities orders that they route on behalf of their customers. Knight also maintains an asset management business for institutions and high net worth individuals through Deephaven Capital Management LLC.
Knight has the power to commit capital for market orders and also maintains one of the largest limit order books in the OTC market. The Company has approximately 1,300 employees worldwide and is one of the largest destinations for stock orders placed via the Internet. Knight traded 135 billion shares in the year 2001, a volume behind only those posted by Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). More information about Knight can be obtained at http://www.knighttradinggroup.com.
Certain statements contained herein constitute ``forward-looking statements'' within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the Company's industry, management's beliefs and certain assumptions made by management. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Since such statements involve risks and uncertainties, the actual results and performance of the Company may turn out to be materially different from the results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Given these uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Unless otherwise required by law, the Company also disclaims any obligation to update its view of any such risks or uncertainties or to announce publicly the result of any revisions to the forward-looking statements made herein; however, readers should carefully review reports or documents the Company files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.