Legg Mason reported earnings of $50.1 million, or 35 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30, its first fiscal quarter for 2010, compared with a loss of $36.1 million, or 26 cents a share, in the comparable period of 2008. The company handily beat the consensus of earnings of 21 cents a share.

Still, Legg Mason Chairman and CEO Mark Fetting said the firm would continue to try to improve profits. “Progress [has been] achieved, but even more value [is] being pursued,” he said.

“While we recognize that there is still more to do, we are pleased to return Legg Mason to profitability,” Fetting said. “Legg Mason generated strong cash income, significantly reduced operating expenses, and reported sequential increases in assets under management at most of our affiliate companies, driven by debt and equity market appreciation and a reduction in outflows."

Assets under management increased 4% to $656.9 billion compared with $632.4 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, primarily driven by market appreciation of 9%, offset in part by reduced client outflows. AUM decreased 29% from $922.8 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2009.

Outflows from Legg Mason’s fixed income, stock and liquid assets totaled $30 billion in the quarter, slowing the pace from the $43.5 billion in outflows in the quarter ended March 31 and the $77 billion in outflows in the quarter ended Dec. 21, 2008.

“Our long-term fund flows are showing significant improvement, but the job is far from done,” Fetting said.

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