Roman Tiraspolsky/iStock Editorial via Getty Images Blackstone (NYSE:BX) stock perked up as much as 2.7% in Tuesday morning trading after JPMorgan analyst Kenneth Worthington upgraded the private equity firm to Overweight from Neutral as its "substantial" fund raising is expected to drive even higher fee-related earnings in 2023. While Blackstone (BX) has already raised over half of its targeted $150B for its flagship funds, fees on only around $28B of assets have started as of Q3 2022, Worthington wrote in a note, leaving more room for that fund raising to contribute to FRE for this year and next. In the third quarter, Blackstone's (BX) FRE of $1.18B gained from $1.02B in Q2 and from $779M in the year-ago quarter, despite investors' concerns over risks to the company's retail, real estate and PE businesses driven by high inflation and interest rates.
Worthington, though, thinks BX's retail franchise is "still intact and positioned for stronger growth over the intermediate term," he noted, calling the company "well positioned" for a potential soft landing. He also sees a "real estate franchise with such good performance from which we expect growth even if the asset class falls from favor, and an insurance operation that is adding layers of revenue/earnings growth via credit and real estate debt investments for multiple years. The Overweight rating diverges from the Quant system's Hold rating and agrees with the average Wall Street analyst's Buy rating.
Earlier this month, (Jan. 21) Seeking Alpha contributor Samuel Smith favored fellow alternative asset manager Blue Owl (OWL) stock over Blackstone (BX), citing faster business growth.