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Invesco Ltd. (IVZ - Analyst Report) recorded a rise in its preliminary month-end assets under management (AUM) for March. The AUM for the month was $729.3 billion, up 2.2% from $713.8 billion at the end of Feb 2013.

Favorable market returns as well as a hike in active and passive long-term inflows were the primary reasons for the rise. Yet, foreign exchange led to a $0.1 billion decline in AUM. At the end of March, Invesco’s average assets stood at $712.7 billion, while the total value of average active assets was $592.6 billion.

In March, Invesco’s preliminary active AUM was recorded at $606.2 billion, reflecting a 2.2% jump from $593.0 billion in the prior month. Similarly, preliminary passive AUM was $123.1 billion, witnessing a 1.9% increase from the earlier month level.

At the end of March, Invesco’s total equity AUM rose 2.6% to $319.5 billion from $311.3 billion recorded at the end of Feb 2013. Further, fixed income AUM showed a marginal increase of 0.6% from the prior month to $175.9 billion.

Moreover, Invesco’s balanced AUM advanced 5.5% to $70.5 billion from $66.8 billion in the preceding month. Likewise, money market AUM summed up to $77.8 billion, rising 1.6% from the previous month. Also, alternatives AUM came in at $85.6 billion in the reported month, improving 1.5% from the prior month’s level.

Among other investment managers, Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN - Analyst Report) announced preliminary AUM of $823.7 billion by its subsidiaries for March, up 1.2% from the prior month. Another investment manager, Legg Mason Inc. (LM - Analyst Report) is expected to announce preliminary AUM for March later this week.

Invesco’s broad diversification strategy positions it comfortably to benefit from enhanced global investment flows. However, the unstable U.S. dollar, volatile equity markets and a sluggish economic recovery, along with mounting competition, make us apprehensive.

Invesco is expected to announce its first quarter results on Apr 30. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 47 cents per share. The Zacks Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) for Invesco is 0.00% for the first quarter. This, along with its Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), makes us confident for a likely positive earnings surprise.

Among other asset managers, BlackRock, Inc. (BLK - Analyst Report) is likely to deliver a positive earnings surprise this quarter as our model shows it has the right combination of elements – an Earnings ESP of +1.11% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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