Blackstone posts higher fourth-quarter economic net income

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(Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX), the world's largest manager of alternative assets such as private equity and real estate, said on Thursday that its fourth-quarter economic net income rose 5 percent year-on-year to $850 million.

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Quarterly economic net income was 71 cents per share, ahead of analysts' expectations for 67 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Economic net income reflects the mark-to-market valuation gains or losses on Blackstone's portfolio and is a key earnings metric for U.S. private equity firms.

Fourth-quarter distributable earnings -- the actual cash available for paying dividends -- was up 94 percent on a year at $1.2 billion.

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New York-based Blackstone's assets totaled $434.1 billion at the end of 2017, a record for the firm and up from $387 billion the previous quarter.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin)

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