(Reuters) - Asset manager Waddell & Reed Financial Inc (WDR.N) reported a quarterly profit above market estimates for the first time in three quarters, as a strong stock market led to higher investments into the company's funds.
For the first quarter, the company posted a net income of $47.4 million, or 55 cents a share, up slightly from $45.6 million, or 53 cents a share, from the fourth quarter.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 49 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The S&P 500 .SPX has had its best first quarter in nearly 14 years and the rising markets were expected to boost the asset manager's results.
Market action added $9.3 billion to total assets and improving investor sentiment led to the higher net flows.
Net flows -- the amount of money investors added to Waddell & Reed's funds -- rebounded to $1.30 billion, after they touched a two-year low of $42 million in the fourth quarter.
Higher assets under management help assets managers who earn fees on the amount of money they help invest.
Waddell & Reed, which is known for its Ivy fund family, ended the quarter with $93.79 billion in assets under management.
Shares of the Overland Park, Kansas-based company closed at $32.10 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Jochelle Mendonca in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal)