Yet analysts have divergent ideas on what they expect from the rest of the group when its members report third-quarter earnings, the bulk of which will do so next week.
Last week, Legg Mason said it expects to earn 96 cents to $1.02 for the September quarter, well below the $1.16 a share analysts were expecting. The asset manager attributed the shortfall to unexpected expenses and a shift in the mix of mutual fund money under management toward lower revenue-generating fixed-income assets.
The company will report its earnings before the market opens on Oct. 24.
While the news rattled the sector and took a toll on Legg Mason -- prompting a big drop in its stock price and some analyst downgrades -- industry followers say other asset managers are unlikely to face the same problems.
"Those issues are somewhat unique to Legg Mason," says A.G. Edwards analyst Jeffrey Hopson, who adds that the firm was affected by some negative outflows that were product-specific. In addition, the company's equity-investment performance wasn't that great, he adds.
Rachel Barnard, a stock analyst with Morningstar, agrees that Legg Mason's problems are unique to the firm.
"Assets from Citigroup are leaving due to all the shifts that are going on with the integration, the changing of managers and the merging of funds," she says. (In 2005, Legg Mason and
sealed a deal under which Legg Mason swapped its private-client brokerage and capital-markets businesses with Citigroup's worldwide asset-management business.)
So where does all this leave the other asset managers?
"I think it's going to be a relatively good quarter for asset managers," says Barnard. "I think you're going to see a lot of upbeat earnings."
Barnard believes that the strong performance of the stock market will help equity assets under management.
Bank of America analyst Michael Hecht agrees.
"Despite near-term seasonal challenges," Hecht says his outlook on the group is favorable, in part due to the upward-trending equity market, particularly as the
tightening cycle may be nearing an end.
Additionally, in a research note, Hecht wrote that expectations for above-average economic growth will also give the group a boost.
But not everyone maintains the same level of optimism.
"It could be more of a mixed quarter," says Hopson. Assets under management could be lower than they were in the previous quarter, he explains.
According to Hopson, there were challenges midway through the quarter, as "July and August were weaker months in terms of market activity and in terms of investment flows." However, toward the end of August, there was some improvement, and that continued in September, so "the outlook is probably a bit better as we move forward."
"It won't be a great quarter for the group overall, but some companies will be able to do better than others," he says.
Hopson says the firms that stand to do the best are large-cap value managers and perhaps fixed income, which had a decent quarter.
Both Hopson and Barnard expect a decent quarter from
T. Rowe Price
. Hopson also expects a good showing from
Waddell & Reed Financial
, while Barnard has positive expectations for
On the flip side, Hopson expects
Janus Capital Group
will likely face some challenges during the quarter.
( JNC) said Wednesday that it earned 56 cents a share, including a 4-cent-a-share charge, up from 54 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Operating revenue rose 15% over the previous year to $181.9 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 59 cents a share and revenue of $183.47 million.
also reported Wednesday. The company earned 74 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $7 million, or 67 cents a share, as revenue rose 9% to $749.6 million. Analysts called for 76 cents a share on earnings and revenue of $764.9 million.
Other asset managers slated to report earnings this month include