Moody’s Corp. (MCO) first-quarter 2012 revenue in its U.S. structured finance division grew 15% from the same period a year ago and income rose as well.

Moody’s reported net income of $173.5 million, or 76 cents a share, up from  $155.5 million, or 67 cents a share, in the year-earlier period, beating analyst estimates. ()

The revenue growth in structured finance is primarily due to strength in credit ratings for asset-backed securities and commercial real estate, Moody’s said. Global structured finance revenue totaled $94.3 million for the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 5% from a year earlier.

Moody’s reported revenue of $646.8 million for the first quarter compared to $577.1 million for the first quarter of 2011.

“While the level of activity was strong in the first quarter, we remain cautious about market conditions for the remainder of the year,” said Raymond McDaniel, CEO of Moody’s.  “As a result, we are reaffirming our 2012 EPS guidance of $2.62 to $2.72 but now expect to be toward the upper end of the range.”

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