Arkansas Firms Feel BlackRock's Trillion-Dollar Presence

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011 12:00 am  

Shares in Murphy Oil represent the fifth-largest piece (3 percent) of the $551 million BlackRock Natural Resources Fund.

Through June 30, the mutual fund averaged an annual return of 9.7 percent since it was established in Oct. 21, 1994. That performance was scarred by the summer's bear market.

The stock mix of natural resource firms produced a year-to-date loss of more than 14.5 percent countered by an annualized loss of nearly 5 percent during the past three years.

More than 1.5 million shares of Tyson Foods are included in the $3.3 billion BlackRock U.S. Opportunities Fund, founded May 1, 1998.

Through the first days of August, the year-to-date performance of the mutual fund was hammered down to a 17.7 percent loss.

"BlackRock is one of the places the world goes to do business," Harding said. "They're very business savvy and do an excellent job for their customers. We compete for their business.

"If they're selling securities, we try to purchase them.When we're selling, we articulate the value of the bonds, and hopefully, they will purchase them."

On a recent morning, BlackRock had 81 bond items on a bid list that covered nine pages. Is the company freeing up cash to go bargain hunting for stocks ravaged by the recent bear market?

People notice when BlackRock is moving in the market, whatever the motivation for adjusting the investment position of its clients.

Crews & Associates has done business with the company for about a decade. Ten years ago, BlackRock had only $239 billion of assets under management. Organic growth and acquisitions sent the firm's portfolio to trillion-dollar status by 2006.

"If you're doing business with BlackRock, you're worthy," Harding said. "If you're going to come to that table, you're going to have to have game.

"To do business with BlackRock, the competition is strong and fervent."



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