* July-Sept net profit 27.7 bln yen vs 6.2 bln consensus
* Boosted by $1.6 bln trading gain, investment trusts
* To pay 4 yen/shr dividend, first payout in 3 quarters
* Rival Daiwa to follow with upbeat earnings on Friday
* Shares close up 0.3 pct before result, down 12 pct in 2009 (Recasts lead, adds details)
By Junko Fujita
TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Nomura Holdings Inc's (8604.T) biggest profit in nine quarters, coupled with $1.6 billion in trading gains, suggests the Japanese broker's aggressive push into overseas bond and equity markets is paying off.
Nomura has posted profits for two straight quarters, bouncing back from an annual loss of more than $7 billion last year on costs to integrate the European and Asian operations of Lehman Brothers LEHMQ.PK it bought after the U.S. bank failed.
Japan's largest investment bank says it has costs under control and is profiting from increased trade with Lehman's former clients while also using Lehman's network to land advisory contracts on cross-border deals.
Nomura, which raised nearly $5 billion this month to bolster its capital and help expand its U.S. operations, said it would return 11 billion yen ($120 million) to shareholders in its first dividend in three quarters.
"Results from Nomura's trading business were very positive," said Wataru Kasatani, a financial analyst at MDAM Asset Management in Tokyo. "This is the growth area that Nomura should focus on with the market recovering and investors coming back."
Nomura posted a 27.7 billion yen ($303 million) July-September net profit, compared with a 72.9 billion yen loss a year earlier. Revenues more than doubled to 300 billion yen.
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The profit was its largest since the April-June quarter of 2007 and beat an average estimate for 6.2 billion yen in a survey of three analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"From this result we can see the unification of Lehman and Nomura has started to work," Chief Financial Officer Masafumi Nakada told a news conference.
But Nomura's improving fortunes mirrored strong earnings at rivals such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), which also bounced back with global financial markets, and could prove fleeting, some analysts said.
"This time the acquisition of Lehman had a positive impact," said Ehsan Syed, director at Fitch Ratings in Tokyo.
"But it is not clear how the acquisition will contribute to Nomura's future earnings as brokerage earnings are vulnerable to changes in the market environment and are difficult to forecast."
Daiwa Securities Group (8601.T), Japan's No.2 broker, is also expected to report upbeat earnings on Friday, helped by the rebound in the stock market and demand for mutual funds.
Nomura booked a 148.5 billion yen gain from its trading operations, a big swing from a 21 billion yen loss a year earlier, as it expanded its customer base and turnover increased for equities and fixed income.
It also sold more than 1 trillion yen worth of stocks, bonds and mutual funds for three straight months as retail investors returned to the market.
Chief Executive Kenichi Watanabe had said in a speech on Tuesday that the broker was now rebuilding its U.S. operation after it shrank the business there following heavy losses in the residential mortgage-backed securities arena.
The U.S. expansion was part of the reason why Nomura increased its capital this month by selling about $4.7 billion worth of shares, he said.
Nomura is capitalising on the retreat of some Wall Street firms and boosting its U.S. fixed income operations.
Nomura regained a primary dealer status in July for U.S. Treasury, raising investors' expectations the brokerage would be involved in more businesses there. It hired two senior bankers from Barclays (BARC.L) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) as co-heads to cement the business in the Americas. [ID:nN08425477]
Nomura withdrew as a primary dealer in the U.S. in 2007.
Prior to the earnings, Nomura shares rose 0.3 percent to 643 yen, down 12 percent since the start of 2009. Tokyo's brokerage sector subindex .ISECU.T fell 0.1 percent on Wednesday, and is down 4 percent so far this year. (Editing by Nathan Layne and Jean Yoon)