Investment manager BlackRock (BLK) - Get Report on Thursday posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings as investors rushed to fixed-income and cash-based ETFs and other non-equity investments, helping boost both net income and revenue.
BlackRock said it earned $806 million, or $6.60 a share, down from $1.05 billion, or $6.61 a share a year earlier, but better than analysts’ forecasts of $6.36 a share. Revenue gained 11% to $3.71 billion from $3.35 billion a year ago, thanks to net quarterly inflows of $35 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting revenue of $3.6 billion.
The numbers paint a picture of a firm taking in a wave of cash as the pandemic reached its full apex on financial markets, and then receded somewhat as investors adjusted to the extreme price-moves and volatility, shifting their asset mix accordingly.
“iShares ETFs have acted as a valuable market technology as investors once again turned to bond ETFs for price transparency and incremental liquidity in volatile markets,” CEO Laurence Fink said, noting iShares sustainable ETFs brought in a record $10 billion of inflows during the quarter, while the firm had one of its best quarters in illiquid alternative fundraisings ever.
Total assets under management at the end of March were $6.46 trillion vs. $5.8 trillion at the end of December 2019, BlackRock said.
By asset type, the total value of equities under BlackRock’s purview fell to $2.96 trillion from $3.82 trillion as of March 31, while the total value of fixed-income securities slipped to $2.23 trillion from $2.32 trillion. Alternatives assets, which include liquid and illiquid alternatives as well as currencies and commodities were $179.9 billion vs. $178 billion as of December 2019.
Shares of BlackRock were up 1.41% at $449.33 in trading on Thursday.