Did Bill Gross Help Janus Earnings?

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Janus Capital Group, Inc. (NYSE: JNS) may be gathering its assets at a better rate than the stock market wants to credit it for. Maybe adding Bill Gross, a.k.a. the Bond King, to its roster of portfolio managers worked out just fine despite any would be controversies around his departure from PIMCO.

After looking at the Janus earnings, its $0.25 in earnings per share (EPS) was slightly above the $0.24 consensus estimate. Revenues of $267.8 million came in short of the consensus estimate of $269.8 million but above the $247.6 million from the last quarter of 2014. The driver here for earnings beating but with light revenues is that the operating expenses were not as high as some might have expected.

The amount of capital (assets) flows were -$600 million if you exclude ETFs and exclude money markets. The bright spot here was stronger than expected inflows into fixed income.

Average assets under management during the fourth quarter 2015 were $191.2 billion compared with $192.1 billion during the third quarter 2015 and $179.2 billion during the fourth quarter 2014.

24/7 Wall St. looked into a report from Wells Fargo on this matter. The firm has an Outperform rating. They did not that inflows may include a Japanese institutional mandate that may limit the outperformance ahead. Wells Fargo said of the quarter:

Relative to our estimate, operating results were better than expected but this was offset by lower non-operating income… Advisory fees were above our view due to higher than expected average assets under management (AUM)… operating expenses were below our view mostly due to lower than expected compensation (ratio was 31.3%, the lowest in two years).

Janus itself also explained some performance issues and asset flows trends. The firm also outlined its expenses and a charge, stated as follows:

Fourth quarter 2015 revenues of $267.8 million decreased from third quarter 2015 due to lower investment management fees as a result of lower average assets under management. Higher negative performance fees also contributed to the decrease. Fourth quarter 2015 operating expenses of $187.0 million decreased from third quarter operating expenses of $190.4 million, primarily due to lower general, administrative and occupancy expense after third quarter 2015 expenses were higher from a charge related to an operational error.

Janus shares were last seen up 0.4% at $12.19 late on Tuesday. That is a lower gain than the broader markets might have indicated. Still, Janus shares hit a 52-week low of $11.33 on Tuesday versus a 52-week high of $18.98. It seems that the worries about the US equity markets may have trumped the big gains seen from Bill Gross joining the firm.

For whatever this is worth, Janus shares were just above $11.00 before the Bill Gross announcement that he was joining the firm. The stock traded as high as almost $16 initially, retreated back to under $14.00, and then rallied to peak out closer to $18.50 on multiple occasions. Now it’s just back in the middle of where things were in between prices from before and after Bill Gross joined Janus.