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by CareyBot

Washington Mutual yesterday reported third quarter 2004 earnings of $674 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, a 30 percent drop on a per share basis from the same period a year ago. WaMu's performance this quarter, however, was up 38 percent on a per share basis from the second quarter's $489 million, or $0.55 per diluted share. The company said in a statement that the decrease in year-over-year net income was due primarily to reduced mortgage refinancing activity this year and higher gains from the sale of securities in the third quarter of 2003. The increase from the second quarter of 2004 was mainly a result of improved performance of the company's mortgage servicing rights (MSR) and related hedges, according to the company. Net income for the mortgage banking business was $271 millio...