Mutual fund giant Franklin Resources yesterday said earnings for its second quarter ended March 31 dropped nearly 9% as a continued slowdown in equity markets pared the value of assets under management.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based firm, which operates the Franklin and Templeton funds, posted a net profit of $109.6 million, or 43 cents a share, down from $120 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Wall Street analysts, on average, were expecting the company to earn 43 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. On a sequential basis, quarterly earnings came in flat.

Total revenue for the quarter fell to $613.1 million from $626 million last year. That was ahead of expectations of $607.8 million.

Franklin’s assets under management fell 8% to $252.4 billion as of March 31, compared with $274.5 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The shares traded down 50 cents, or 1.4%, to close at $35.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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