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Blackstone third-quarter profit beats estimates amid market rise

Blackstone third-quarter profit beats estimates amid market rise
FILE PHOTO: The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo   -   Copyright  Brendan McDermid(Reuters)
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By Joshua Franklin

NEWYORK (Reuters) – Blackstone Group LP <BX.N>, the world’s largest manager of alternative assets, modestly exceeded analyst expectations with an 11 percent jump in third-quarter earnings on Thursday, as climbing equity markets buoyed its holdings.

The New York-based firm’s economic net income (ENI) per unit for the three months through September was 76 cents, compared to the mean forecast for 74 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. A year earlier, Blackstone reported ENI per share of 68 cents.

ENI reflects the mark-to-market valuation gains or losses on Blackstone’s portfolio and is a closely watched earnings metric for U.S. private equity firms.

In premarket trading, Blackstone shares were flat.

Stock market swings often impact the valuation of private equity firms’ holdings because they mark many of their holdings to market. The benchmark S&P 500 index <.SXP> rose 7.2 percent in the third quarter.

Blackstone also benefited from a 19.9 percent appreciation of Gates Industrial Corporation <GTES.N>, in which it still holds a majority stake.

“Assets under management increased 18 percent versus the prior year, bringing the total to a new record of $457 billion,” Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Schwarzman said in a statement.

Distributable earnings — the actual cash available for paying dividends — were $769 million, up from $626 million a year ago. Blackstone said it would pay shareholders a quarterly distribution of 64 cents per common unit, including a 10 cent special distribution.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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