Janus Capital Group Inc. announced Thursday that its first-quarter earnings rose as trading continued to recover from the depths of the recession a year earlier.

The Denver-based investment management company reported earning of $31.3 million, or 17 cents a share, after suffering a loss of $818.1 million or $5.22 per share. The losses last year were due to asset writedowns.

Despite the profit, Janus [JNS] missed analyst expectations. Analysts expected the company to earn 18 cents per share on revenue of $249 million.

Janus saw a surge in assets under management and investment-management fees in the first quarter. Assets under management rose 49.2% from a year earlier and 3.6% since the end of last year to $165.5 billion.

During the quarter, the company had $1.9 billion in net outflows, including $4.3 billion of net outflows from its Intech unit, which uses mathematical formulas to pick stocks for larger institutions. The Janus funds had $1.4 billion of net inflows.

Relative long-term investment performance remained strong with 67%, 84% and 84% of complex-wide mutual funds in the top half of their Lipper categories on a one-, three- and five-year total-return basis, respectively, as of March 31.