Janus Shares Fall on Margin Worries

Janus ( JNS) fell 3% Thursday after UBS downgraded the stock.

The setback came a day after the Denver-based asset manager reported some modest good news, saying assets under management rose 5% last month.

But on Thursday, Janus shares slipped 56 cents to $16.21 after UBS analyst Glenn Schorr cut the stock to reduce from neutral, saying the stock price is "ahead of the fundamentals." Janus shares have risen some 23% off their Sept. 28 low.

Schorr says he expects margin pressure to continue to hamper Janus. He says the scheduled December outflow of $1.9 billion by ING, to be followed by another $2.5 billion outflow in May, will weigh on the shares. ING started withdrawing funds from Janus this year after worries about the company's poor performance.

Schorr notes that Janus has made some strides to stabilize itself since last year's mutual fund scandal, but he says the company still has its work cut out for it. Janus has reported improving sales this year, but Schorr points out they remain below 2003 levels.

Late Wednesday, Janus said assets under management rose to $137.4 billion in November from $131.3 billion at the end of October. Janus said total net outflows, not including money markets, were approximately $151 million in November. Including money markets, total net inflows in November were $183 million -- a marked improvement for a firm that has struggled over the past year to retain investors after playing a high-profile role in the mutual fund scandal.

The company attributed the growth to strong fund performances by its $9 billion ( JAVLX) Janus Twenty and $2.3 billion ( JSVAX) Janus Contrarian funds. Those funds are respectively up 17.6% and 19% this year. The firm's Intech unit, which uses a mathematical approach to investing in stocks, also showed strong results with inflows of $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, rival Franklin Resources ( BEN) said assets under management rose 4.8% sequentially last month to $388.9 billion. Assets rose more than 20% on a year-over-year basis.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company said its international funds drove asset growth, rising to $148.9 billion in November from $109.7 billion last year.

Assets in Franklin Templeton's domestic U.S. stock funds rose to $70.8 billion in November from $61.3 billion a year ago, lifting total equity assets to $219.7 billion from $171 billion last year.

Finally, New York-based asset manager Alliance Capital Management ( AC) reported assets under management increased by 3.6% to $512 billion in November from $494 billion the prior month.

Franklin rose 2 cents Thursday to $66.43, and Alliance rose a nickel to $39.53.

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