Helped by higher values of investments and more assets under management, Blackstone (BX) reported on Wednesday a stronger-than-expected 56% gain in fourth-quarter profit.

The New York-based asset manager posted net income of $513 million, or 46 cents a share, from $329 million a year ago, ahead of average analyst estimates of 30 cents a share.

The private equity and real estate investor saw a 14% increase in fee-earning assets under management to $109.5 billion, lifting total assets under management 30% to $128 billion. Performance fees and investment income grew to $1.5 billion from $273.6 million a year ago.

“Blackstone exited 2010 in a stronger position than ever before, with all of our businesses experiencing higher levels of activity,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, the company’s chief executive.

The board of directors at Blackstone declared a quarterly dividend of 32 cents a share.

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