BlackRock Q1 earnings beat on strength of ETF flows

BlackRock's Q1 earnings beats expectations
BlackRock's Q1 earnings beats expectations

BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, reported an 8.7 percent rise in first-quarter profit, boosted by positive flows into its exchange-traded funds.

The company said Wednesday its income rose to $822 million, or an adjusted $4.89 per share, from $756 million in the quarter ended March 31, or $4.40 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue came in at $2.723 billion.

Analysts had been expecting an adjusted earnings per share of $4.52 per share on revenue of $2.759 billion.

"The number one story is the breadth of the flows. We had $70 billion in net long-term flows," founder and CEO Laurence Fink said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Net inflows totaled $68.7 billion as investors poured $35.48 billion into BlackRock's ETFs, with the lion's share going into fixed-income funds.

BlackRock's assets under management rose to $4.8 trillion at the end of the quarter from $4.4 trillion a year earlier.

Shares of BlackRock traded nearly 1 percent higher in premarket trade. Up to Wednesday's close of $376.66 on the New York Stock Exchange, BlackRock's shares had risen 5.3 percent this year.

Money is flowing to asset managers because the low interest rate rate environment and fragmented markets are creating more problems for clients than they've had in years, Fink said.

"In Europe, negative rates are truly harming pension funds and insurance companies," Fink said. "European insurance companies are going to have a real difficult time to even to even offer insurance."

Reuters contributed to this story.