Mercantile Bankshares Corp. said its profit grew 13 percent in the second quarter thanks to the acquisition of F&M Bancorp last year. Chief executive Edward J. Kelly III said, "Loan growth showed signs of reviving."

The Baltimore banking company earned $56.3 million (71 cents a share), compared with $50 million (72 cents) in the same quarter a year ago. For the first six months of the year, Mercantile said, profit also rose 13 percent, to $112 million ($1.40) from $99 million ($1.43) in the first half of 2003.

* AvalonBay Communities Inc. said it sold fewer apartment communities during the second quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier, contributing to a more than 50 percent decline in profit.

The Alexandria real estate investment trust (REIT) said profit was $35 million (46 cents a share), compared with $76.5 million ($1.08).

Funds from operations, a common measure of REIT profitability, were 83 cents a share, unchanged. For the first six months of the year, funds from operations fell to $1.62 from $1.66 a share.

Profit for the first half of 2004 fell to $60.3 million (79 cents) from $113.9 million ($1.57).