Inflows Pump Legg Mason Earnings, Royce to Close Fund
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Friday, October 22, 2004

Inflows Pump Legg Mason Earnings, Royce to Close Fund

Royce & Associates is planning to close its Low-Priced Stock Fund to new investors next Friday. The New York-based fund advisor, which is a unit of Baltimore-based Legg Mason, said that it is making the move in response to "considerable" flows of new assets into the fund.

The fund has $4.2 billion in assets and invests in stocks with a market cap of less than $2.5 billion of assets. It will remain open to institutional investors approved by Royce.

Meanwhile, Legg Mason said Thursday afternoon that its net earnings in the second quarter jumped 38 percent to $91.7 million, or 81 cents per share, compared with net earnings of $66.6 million, or 62 cents, a year earlier. That news caused a 10 percent surge in the broker-dealer's stock. Stock analysts had only expected the firm to earn 76 cents per share, according to Reuters.

Driving the strong performance was growth in assets under management at Legg Mason. During the past three months that figure jumped $15 billion. During the past 12 months Legg Mason has added $74 billion to its assets base, bringing the total to $311 billion. The increasing AUM figure has driven its investment advisory fees up by 40 percent over the past year.

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