The New York Stock Exchange (search) said first-quarter profit dropped 25.1 percent from the year prior, while revenue was virtually unchanged.

Profit fell to $11.5 million from $15.4 million, while revenue rose by less than $1 million to $268.8 million, it said in a statement late Thursday.

The NYSE said compensation — a controversial topic since the forced resignation of former Chairman Richard Grasso (search) over his $188 million compensation package — rose by 1.2 percent to $131.3 million.

The Big Board said total expenses increased by 2.5 percent to $247.9 million, driven up in part by legal costs related to Grasso. An exchange spokeswoman said legal expenses rose by $6 million in the quarter from a year ago.

The NYSE stated in its annual report last month that expenses related to Grasso's pay would be recorded in 2003.

Average daily volume at the NYSE, the world's largest stock exchange, rose to 1.54 billion shares from 1.42 billion a year ago.

Expenditures for professional services, which mainly includes vendor relationships, rose by 27.5 percent to $32 million.

Since Grasso's departure in September, the exchange has retained outside lawyers for advice in the wake of the controversy over his pay package.