The bad news: asset manager Janus Capital ( JNS) posted a 93% nosedive in first-quarter earnings. The good news: it did at least see a slowdown in outflows.

Quarterly earnings were $2.7 million, or 2 cents a share, from $37.4 million or 23 cents in the year-ago period.

The results are preliminary and do not include expected goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges of $900 million to $1 billion, or $5.74 to $6.37 a share. Results will be finalized by May 11.

Janus said investors pulled $5.3 billion out of the company's money-market funds during the quarter and took about $900 million out of long-term funds. Outflows from long-term funds have slowed since investors pulled out $3 billion in the fourth quarter and are less than those of its competitors, the company said in a statement.

"Despite continued challenges in the market, we believe our distribution build-out and strong long-term investment performance will translate into market share gains once equity markets recover," Chief Executive Gary Black said in a statement.

Assets under management fell 10% to $110.9 billion. Assets are down 41% since the end of the first quarter of 2008.

On Monday, TheStreet.com contributor Robert Steyer noted that asset-management stocks like Janus are driven by the health of the economy, and that investors should look to them as a key indicator of a rebound.
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