BlackRock Earnings Plummeted by 60%, Falling Short of Expectations

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, reported quarterly earnings today that fell short of the expectations of analysts. Earnings over this past year plummeted by almost 60% to $927 million, with earnings per share sitting at $6.08 on an adjusted basis. Analysts had predicted a price of $6.27 per share.

Assets under management of BlackRock at the conclusion of the quarter totalled $5.98 trillion. This was a drop of 5% over the past year and down 7% in the last quarter. CEO Larry Fink has since revealed that since the end of the quarter BlackRock has managed to increase assets under management above the $6 trillion mark.

Worst December Since the Great Depression

Larry Fink, Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock: "We had huge equity declines in the fourth quarter, we had commodity declines. We had about a 5 percent decay in our asset base, not because of outflow, but because the market fell." Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

"We had huge equity declines in the fourth quarter, we had commodity declines. We had about a 5 percent decay in our asset base, not because of outflow, but because the market fell,"

Fink told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday.

"We all know the fourth quarter was a pretty severe down graph in the equity markets, and that reflects in our net asset value, but we had organic growth unlike the majority of the industry.”

US markets weathered a tough conclusion to 2018. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 experienced a drop of more than 10 percent in the three months ending December. Corporate leaders were uneasy as both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 posted their worst December figures since the Great Depression.

BlackRock sales of $3.434 billion were announced, falling below expectations of $3.516 billion. This represented a dip of 9 percent from the fourth quarter of the previous year. Company stock is down just short of 30 percent in the past year. Job cuts are expected in the coming weeks.

The dismissal of five hundred employees is on the cards, which accounts for approximately 3 percent of BlackRock’s total workforce. In an internal memo seen by CNBC, BlackRock president Rob Kapito claims the cuts are part of a broader effort to “reallocate resources to our most critical growth opportunities.”

Difficult Decisions

Kapito continued that;

"As our industry undergoes an era of significant change, we can continue to outperform by building our business in high-growth markets and using our advantages in technology and portfolio construction to lead change in the industry.”

"But executing on this strategy requires that we move decisively to refocus resources where the impact will be greatest. It also requires that we operate as efficiently as possible and are organized for success. Sometimes this requires difficult decisions.”

Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank downgraded BlackRock shares from buy to hold late last week, informing clients that they shouldn’t expect much by way of return from asset manager stocks over the coming year.

Last modified (UTC): January 16, 2019 9:29 AM

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David Cullinan

David is a UK born and educated finance & tech journalist and an avid crypto enthusiast. He’s also a keen day trader and investor in both the crypto and traditional markets.