As Japan's giant Nomura Securities Co. has staged a sharp rebound in recent months from its dismal performance in 1998, the firm's U.S. operation is poised to stick a couple of toes, if not an entire foot, back into the waters that were the source of some of its grandest successes and failures during that decade: the commercial mortgage-backed securities market.

On paper, the Tokyo-based parent is in solid form. For the nine months ended December 31, Nomura posted net income of 128.95 billion yen ($1.19 billion) on net revenue of 583.37 billion yen. By contrast, in the same period in 1998, the company reported a net loss of 466.90 billion yen on revenue of 228.1 billion yen.

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