Comsat Corp. of Bethesda, which is awaiting federal approval of a merger with Lockheed Martin Corp., reported higher earnings in the second quarter, helped by gains on the sale of stock in the telecommunications company Viatel Inc. and equity income from its investment in the Inmarsat satellite system.

Comsat said its net income almost tripled, to $12 million (22 cents a share), from $4.1 million (8 cents) a year earlier. Second-quarter revenue rose 3.2 percent, to $155.9 million from $151.1 million in the same quarter last year.

The company's revenue was driven by increased demand for its Internet and other high-speed data applications, although sales declined for analog telephone traffic.

Comsat's results included a pretax gain of $12.6 million from the sale of Viatel stock and $3.2 million in equity income from Inmarsat. The company also posted expenses of $2.1 million related to Comsat's proposed merger with its Bethesda neighbor, defense giant Lockheed Martin.

For the first half of the year, Comsat said net income rose to $24 million (45 cents), compared with $7.9 million (15 cents) for the same period a year earlier.

In addition to announcing its results, Comsat also said it has signed a five-year contract, valued at up to $111.9 million to provide high-speed data, voice and multimedia satellite services to the Navy.

Comsat shares closed yesterday unchanged, at $35.93 3/4 a share, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Legg Mason Inc., the Baltimore brokerage and financial services firm, said its profit rose almost 35 percent in its fiscal first quarter, to $32.8 million (54 cents a share) from $24.4 million (41 cents) a year earlier.

The firm's revenue climbed 26 percent, to $314.6 million from $248.7 million. Legg Mason's fiscal first quarter ended June 30.

Company officials cited outstanding performances in investment advisory and securities brokerage operations as key elements of the quarter's strong results. Revenue from investment advisory work climbed 36 percent, to $123 million, while commission revenue rose 27 percent, to $82.5 million.

Assets under management grew to $93 billion, from $74 billion a year ago.

Expenses at the firm, primarily compensation and benefits, rose in absolute terms but declined slightly as a percentage of revenue. The company's pretax profit margin stood at 17.6 percent for the quarter, up about 1 percentage point from last year.

Legg Mason's shares rose 87 1/2 cents, to $37.43 3/4, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.