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Big Fund Firms Post Mixed Results

Asset managers turned in mixed earnings reports Thursday, as fund giants Franklin Resources (BEN) and T. Rowe Price (TROW) beat Wall Street's estimates, but Janus Capital (JNS) posted disappointing results.

As a whole, asset managers were expected to post weakened second-quarter results after a rocky equities market. Analysts had ratcheted down estimates for the quarter, as investment returns and investor inflows were expected to decline.

The profit picture was bright at Franklin Resources, the parent of Franklin Templeton Investments. The company's fiscal third-quarter earnings jumped 41% to $371.4 million, or $1.41 a share, from $261.9 million, or $1 a share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of $1.26 a share for the June quarter.

The company's revenue rose to $1.3 billion from $1.1 billion a year earlier.

But assets under management didn't escape the volatility that weighed on stocks during the period. Franklin's assets under management at the end of June stood at $490.1 billion. The number is up significantly from $425.4 billion a year ago, but down slightly from the $491.6 billion recorded at the end of March.

Still, the earnings beat sent Franklin's shares up $2.96, or 3.5%, to $87.30 in afternoon trading Thursday.

Meanwhile, T. Rowe Price's second-quarter earnings rose to $136 million, or 49 cents a share, from $103 million, or 38 cents share, a year ago. The results beat analysts' forecast for earnings of 46 cents a share.

Net revenue rose 23% to $446 million from $364 million.

T. Rowe price managed to post asset growth in the quarter, despite the market's wild ride. Assets under management increased to a record $293.7 billion at the end of June, up $24.2 billion from the end of 2005. The number was up $800 million from the end of the first quarter.

The company's shares recently jumped $2.23, or 6%, to $39.28.

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