BlackRock profit beats as ETFs attract more investment


BlackRock Inc on Friday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as investors flooded into the world's biggest asset manager's exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The company's profit was boosted by a $1.2 billion gain related to the recent enactment of the U.S. tax laws, and the company also raised its quarterly cash dividend by 15 percent.

Booming markets drove demand for index-tracking ETFs in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, and helped push the assets BlackRock oversees past $6 trillion.

"We're winning more and more clients, and we're winning more of their wallet," Chief Executive Larry Fink told CNBC, who said he is generally optimistic about the trajectory of U.S. stocks.

BlackRock said its iShares ETF business took in $54.8 billion in new money in the quarter, up from $49.3 billion a year earlier.

The New York-based company's net income surged to $2.3 billion, or $14.07 per share, from $851 million, or $5.13 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding the benefit from the new tax law, BlackRock earned $6.24 per share. Analysts on an average expected the company to earn $6.02 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company ended the quarter with $6.29 trillion in assets under management, up 22 percent from $5.15 trillion at the same point last year.

Net investment in fixed-income securities totaled $42.95 billion. BlackRock attracted total "long-term" net flows of $102.93 billion in the quarterly period.

BlackRock shares were up nearly 2 percent in pre-market trading on Friday. (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Chizu Nomiyama)