BlackRock's 1Q Profit Falls 20%

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, posted a 20 percent drop in first-quarter profit amid a dramatic reversal in financial markets.

The New York-based company's net income fell to $657 million, or $3.92 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $822 million, or $4.84 per share, a year earlier.

BlackRock attracted total long-term net inflows of $36.08 billion in the quarterly period, down from $70.44 billion in the same quarter of 2015.

On an adjusted basis, BlackRock earned $4.25 per share, falling short of the average analyst estimate of $4.29, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In the last quarter of 2015, the company took in $54 billion into its funds despite weak and turbulent markets, driving profits higher. But the company nonetheless missed Wall Street analysts' forecasts for that quarter.

BlackRock's iShares exchange-traded funds business took in $24.25 billion in new money in the latest quarter, down from $35.48 billion a year earlier.

The lion's share invested in ETFs went into bonds as U.S. markets began the year with one of their roughest starts ever only to regain their footing in February.

Net investment in fixed income was $52.17 billion, while $2.15 billion went into alternative investments.

BlackRock ended the quarter with $4.74 trillion in assets under management, up from $4.65 trillion at the end of 2015.

Up to Wednesday's close of $348.29, BlackRock's shares had risen about 2.3 percent since the start of the year.

BlackRock's stock traded nearly 5 percent lower at the end of 2015 than at the end of 2014, while a grouping of such companies measured by the Dow Jones U.S. Asset Managers Index fell by 12 percent. Over the year, the stock returned negative 2.3 percent, a figure that includes dividend payouts.

(Reporting By Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Anil D'Silva)