Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc. said strong growth in investment banking revenue led to an increase in second-quarter net income, though the Arlington investment house did not meet Wall Street's estimates for the quarter.

FBR earned $81.2 million on revenue of $212.7 million in the three months ended June 30, compared with net income of $58.8 million on revenue of $148.4 million in the same quarter of 2003. Earnings per share of 48 cents missed analysts estimates of 57 cents a share. FBR earned 43 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

FBR's investment management, banking and brokerage is just a piece of its overall business. The company is also a real estate investment trust (REIT) that has invested in a $12.3 billion portfolio of mortgage-backed securities.

For the first half of the year, FBR earned $170.8 million ($1.01) on revenue of $466.1 million compared with $64.5 million (69 cents) on revenue of $198 million in the first half of 2003.

* Meristar Hospitality Corp. narrowed last year's big loss during the second quarter but said the hotel industry is still in the early stage of recovery.

The Arlington REIT lost $12 million (14 cents a share) compared with $206 million ($4.47) a year earlier. Revenue rose slightly to $223 million from $216 million.

Funds from operations, another measure of REIT profitability, rose to 19 cents a share from a loss of $3.90.

For the six months ended June 30, the firm's net loss narrowed to $52 million (68 cents) from $276 million ($5.99) in the first half of 2003. Funds from operations rose to 8 cents from a loss of $4.86. Revenue rose to $428 million from $417 million.

The company said hotels in some of its strongest markets, including the District, thrived while other markets remained sluggish.

* Usec Inc. said earnings rose more than the company had predicted in the second quarter, but because the additional uranium orders that bumped up earnings were already expected in the third quarter, they won't affect the company's predictions for the year.

The Bethesda company, the world's leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants, earned $11.7 million (14 cents a share) compared with $4.3 million (5 cents) in the same period last year. Revenue fell to $318.6 million from $362.6 million. For the first six months of the fiscal year, earnings fell to $500,000 (1 cent) from $6.4 million (8 cents) in the first half of 2003, while revenue fell to $498.6 million from $689.7 million.

The company said it would earn 17 to 19 cents a share for the year.

* Sunrise Senior Living Inc., the nation's largest provider of housing for the elderly, reported a decline in second-quarter profit to $15.1 million (66 cents a share), from $16.2 million (67 cents) in the same period last year. The McLean company blamed a drop in income from property sales and said that without that measure, net income would have climbed 70 percent. Revenue rose to $368.9 million, from $334.5 million. For the first six months of the fiscal year, earnings fell to $29.1 million ($1.26) from $29.6 million ($1.23) in the same period a year earlier.

* Performance Food Group Co. said its second-quarter earnings suffered as it continued to work on problems such as a slowdown in its retail business, lower margins and higher costs of refocusing processing plants.

Earnings for the Richmond supplier of food to restaurants, hospitals and schools fell to $18.8 million (39 cents a share) for the quarter ended July 3, from $23.9 million (49 cents) in the quarter ended June 28 last year. Revenue rose to $1.6 billion from $1.4 billion.

For the first six months of the fiscal year, earnings fell to $26.3 million (56 cents) from $40.4 million (84 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose to $3 billion from $2.6 billion.

* Mills Corp., an Arlington builder of malls and other retail properties around the world, reported lower earnings in the second quarter as it didn't have the same extraordinary gains from currency exchange it had in the same period last year. Its operating performance improved.

The company reported net income of $20.9 million (21 cents a share) in the three months ended June 30, compared with $37.2 million (69 cents) in the same period of 2003.

Funds from operations, a measure of the ongoing performance of real estate investment trusts, improved to $59.7 million (92 cents) from $50 million (82 cents).

* American Capital Strategies Ltd., a Bethesda business-lending and investment company, earned $88.9 million ($1.22 a share) in the second quarter compared with $26.3 million (48 cents) in the same quarter a year ago.

Total revenue, which includes fees, interest and dividends from its portfolio of loans and investments, was $75.6 million, compared with $43.2 million.

For the six months ended June 30, the company earned $123.5 million ($1.75), compared with $25.3 million (49 cents) in the first half of 2003. Revenue was $142.1 million, compared with $86.3 million.

* Lafarge North America Inc., a Herndon maker of construction materials, reported higher second-quarter profit last night, a rise it attributed to strong demand and higher prices for cement and other products.

Lafarge, the North American subsidiary of a French construction materials giant, said it earned $102 million ($1.34 per share) in the three months ended June 30, compared with $73.9 million ($1) in the same period of 2003. The higher profit was spread around each of its major divisions, with an 8 percent rise in operating profit in its cement division and a shift from losses to profit in its gypsum division.

The company also attributed a portion of its improved results to a stronger Canadian dollar, which added $8 million to operating income. Lafarge said it will increase its quarterly cash dividend to 22 cents per share, from its previous level of 20 cents.