BlackRock earnings easily beat Wall Street expectations as assets jump to almost $6 trillion

Key Points
  • BlackRock's assets under management grew by 17 percent on a year-over-year basis to $5.977 trillion.
  • Assets under management for the ETF business totaled $1.640 trillion, accounting for 27 percent of its total assets.
Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock.
Cameron Costa | CNBC

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on Wednesday.

Total assets under management rose 17 percent to nearly $6 trillion as net inflows easily beat Wall Street expectations.

Here's how the company's results compare to Wall Street's expectations:

  • EPS: $5.92 per share vs $5.56 expected by a Thomson Reuters survey.
  • Revenue: $3.233 billion vs $3.096 billion expected.
  • Total assets under management: $5.977 trillion vs StreetAccount's projected $5.94 trillion.
  • Net inflows: $96 billion vs $71.62 billion expected.

"We're seeing clients looking to put more money to work," CEO Larry Fink told CNBC's "Squawk Box" shortly after the results were released. "What's going on is we're seeing a change in market sentiment. We're seeing continuing growth in China, above-trendline growth in Japan."

Shares of BlackRock traded 0.3 percent lower in the premarket.

BlackRock also said its iShares exchange-traded funds business saw $52.3 billion in long-term net inflows, led by $33.1 billion in equity inflows. Assets under management for iShares totaled $1.640 trillion, accounting for 27 percent of BlackRock's total assets.

The company said cash assets rose 6 percent from a year earlier to $425.4 billion.

"One of the greatest problems we still have in the world is how much money is sitting on the sideline," Fink said. "Even in places like Japan, there's $5 trillion in cash earning negative return. In Germany 72 percent of savings are in bank accounts. We're seeing some of that unlocked, we're seeing people put some of that money to work."

The company's stock has been on fire this year, advancing 21.5 percent. By comparison, the overall is up about 14 percent in the period. BlackRock shares have also outperformed the financials sector, which is up 13 percent in 2017.

BlackRock said in its third-quarter report that assets under management for its scientific active equity group had risen 86 percent from the year-earlier period.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would use more computers to pick stocks as part of its efforts to overhaul its active management business.

"So things have been coming along well. Big data, machine learning is certainly a huge driver for our alpha generation," Jeff Shen, co-CIO of BlackRock's scientific active equity group, told CNBC last week at the Sohn conference in San Francisco.