UPDATE 2-Morningstar profit falls on higher costs
* First-quarter EPS 40 cents vs 51 cents last year
* Revenue rises on acquisitions as data firm expands (Adds detail, CFO interview)
BOSTON, April 28 (Reuters) - Chicago data firm Morningstar Inc (MORN.O) said on Wednesday its first-quarter profit fell 19 percent from a year ago on higher costs and the loss of some business.
Morningstar, which tracks mutual funds and other industries, said that in the three months ended March 31 it earned $20.2 million, or 40 cents a share, down from $25 million, or 51 cents a share, a year ago.
One analyst who follows the company had expected it to earn earn 48 cents a share on revenue of $126 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company reported revenue of $128 million, up from $117 million a year earlier. Revenue rose partly on acquisitions, offsetting the loss of payments it had received under a federal analyst research settlement that ended last summer. Most recently, in March Morningstar agreed to pay $52 million to buy credit rater Realpoint LLC to challenge the three major rating agencies.
Operating expenses rose to $97 million, up from $82 million a year ago. The company said it has expanded sales and product development teams, and restored some discretionary costs like bonuses and 401(k) retirement account contributions.
The company does not give earnings forecasts, the company's chief financial officer Scott Cooley said.
With clients, "the tenor of the sales conversations has been a lot better than it was a year ago," he said.
Morningstar shares fell less than 1 percent in after-hours trading. (Reporting by Ross Kerber. Editing by Robert MacMillan)
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