Assets Jump at BlackRock, Nuveen

BlackRock's earnings soar as revenue easily tops estimates. Nuveen's profit falls short.
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BlackRock

(JNC)

shares bounced almost 7% Wednesday morning after the asset manager reported a 52% jump in first-quarter earnings and higher-than-expected revenue.

Meanwhile, shares of

Nuveen

(JNC)

were lower after the money manager's profit fell 2 cents short of analysts' estimate .

New York-based BlackRock, which is due to see its assets grow to more than $1 trillion pending its merger with

Merrill Lynch's

(MER)

fund management division, earned $70.9 million, or $1.06 a share, in the first quarter, up from $46.5 million, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, such as costs related to the Merrill deal, earnings were $1.23 a share. First-quarter revenue rose 58% to $395.7 million from $250.1 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected the company to earn $1.12 a share on revenue of $330.1 million.

BlackRock's assets under management totaled $463.06 billion at March 31, up from $391.33 billion a year earlier and from $452.68 billion at Dec. 31. Net new business in the first quarter was $7.7 billion. Net inflows in long-dated products totaled $7.4 billion during the quarter, including $1.3 billion from U.S. investors and $6.1 billion from non-U.S. clients.

"Investment performance and new business momentum remained strong throughout the quarter, and the pipeline of unfunded wins and searches in process is robust," said Laurence Fink, chairman and CEO, in a press release. "Our first quarter results are particularly significant given that we are in the midst of planning our integration with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers."

Fink also said that as of March 31, the combined assets of the two firms stands at $1.039 trillion, up $47.4 billion from the year-end 2005 figure. The firms' combination is expected to close at the end of the third quarter.

BlackRock shares recently traded up $10, or 6.8%, to $157.50.

Nuveen Profit Up 4%

Chicago-based Nuveen earned $44.9 million, or 54 cents a share, in the first quarter, up from $43.2 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $160.1 million from $134.9 million. Analysts projected earnings of 56 cents a share and revenue of $159.95 million.

Nuveen's total assets under management increased to $145 billion at March 31 from $119 billion a year earlier and $136 billion at Dec. 31. Nuveen said the increase over the last year was driven by $15 billion of positive net flows, $8 billion of market appreciation and $3 billion of assets from the acquisition of Santa Barbara Asset Management in October.

First quarter gross sales were $10.1 billion, with positive net flows of $5.9 billion, according to the company. Gross sales of high-net-worth managed accounts and institutional separate accounts were $8.8 billion with positive net flows of $5.0 billion. Gross sales of mutual funds were $1.3 billion with net flows of $900,000.

"Our strong start to the year reflects our broader, more diversified business base and investment expertise," said Chairman and CEO Tim Schwertfeger, who also credited strong equity markets for the jump in assets under management.

Nuveen shares recently traded down 54 cents, or 1.1%, to $48.86.