Can Janus' News Get Worse?

We've had some stormy weather in the Denver metro area over the past few days. Last night, we were supposed to receive a downpour of epic proportions. It did rain, but I'm not so sure the soaking was worthy of Homer. Maybe that's because the storm clouds were more focused downtown. Or, more precisely, directly over Janus Capital Group's (NYSE: JNS  ) headquarters.

The mutual fund manager said yesterday that second-quarter earnings declined nearly 20% to $40.5 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, from $50.5 million, or $0.22 per stub, during the same period a year ago. The results excluded a $228 million one-time gain from the sale of its shares in DST Systems (NYSE: DST  ) as well as charges related to debt restructuring, severance payments, and the mutual fund scandal. Investors bailed out, sending Janus' shares lower by more than 1% yesterday. They're down again nearly 2% today.

It isn't the first time investors have run for the exits, either. Since last September, when Janus, along with Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , Bank One (NYSE: ONE  ) , J.B. Oxford (Nasdaq: JBOH  ) , and Strong Financial -- whose assets have since been purchased by Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) -- was first implicated in the mutual fund scandal, average assets under management have declined from $151.4 billion to $135.4 billion, or 11%.

And yet in all that ugliness, there was good news. The company has reduced fees for investors, a mandated move that management says will impact future results by roughly $0.03 a share. Sure, the short-term hit stinks, but the lower fees should help satisfy regulators and bring investors back.

Janus' fund performance also continues to improve. As of June 30, roughly 55% of Janus investment funds ranked in the top half of their categories over the past three years, according to fund tracker Lipper. That's up from 33% at this same time a year ago. Among the winners driving the improved performance is 3-year-old Janus Global Opportunities, which ranks 11th of 259 funds over three years in its Lipper category. Morningstar also gives the fund a five-star rating.

Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz has asked that you and I forgive Janus. I'm not sure I do, but who cares? What's important here is that Janus appears to be making a real effort to repair the damage done to investors and the company.

Yeah, it's raining over Janus now, but I've got a good umbrella. I think I'll stick around for a while. You never know when the sun might peek through.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers actually has some faith that Janus will get back on its feet. Tim owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned, and you can view his Fool profile here.


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