S&P Global Inc.  (NYSE:SPGI)

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.


Q1 2019 Earnings Call
May. 02, 2019, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning and welcome to S&P Global's First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. I'd like to inform you that this call is being recorded for broadcast. All participants are in a listen-only mode. We will open the conference to questions-and-answers after the presentation and instructions will follow at that time.

(Operator Instructions) I would now like to introduce Mr. Chip Merritt, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations for S&P Global. Sir, you may begin.

Robert S. Merritt -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Good morning, thanks for joining S&P Global's earnings call. Presenting on this morning's call are Doug Peterson, President and CEO and Ewout Steenbergen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

This morning we issued a news release with our first quarter 2019 results. If you need a copy of the release and financial schedule, they can be downloaded at investor.spglobal.com. In today's earnings release and during the conference call we are providing adjusted financial information. This information is provided to enable investors to make meaningful comparisons of the corporation's operating performance between periods, and to view the corporation's business from the same perspective as management.

The earnings release contains exhibits that reconcile the difference between the non-GAAP measures and the comparable financial measures calculated in accordance with US GAAP.

Before we begin, I need to provide certain cautionary remarks about forward-looking statements. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in the teleconference may contain forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including projections, estimates and descriptions of future events. Any such statements are based on current expectations and current economic conditions and are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. In this regard, we direct listeners to the cautionary statements contained in our Form 10-Ks, 10-Qs and other periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

I would also like to call your attention to a European regulation. Any investor who has or expects to obtain ownership of 5% or more of S&P Global should give me a call to better understand the impact of this legislation on the investor and, potentially, the company.

We are aware that we do have some media representatives with us on the call. However, this call is intended for investors, and we would ask that questions from the media be directed to Jason Feuchtwanger at 212-438-1247.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Doug Peterson. Doug?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Thank you, Chip. Good morning, and welcome to our first quarter earnings call. 2019 began on shaky footing on the heels of the volatility uncertainty in the (inaudible) quarter. The markets have come a long way since the depths of December. The main development in the past quarter has been the recovery of both equity and debt markets. In the meantime, our baseline forecast of slower but healthy growth for 2019 remains intact.

But the most more notable change has been a coordinated stand-down by major central banks and across the board shift in monetary policy bias from gradual tightening to neutral. Markets have responded very positively, although risks related to politics and trade still linger. Our subscription businesses, Market Intelligence and Platts, led revenue growth in the first quarter as it took several weeks in January from markets and more importantly, ETF AUM and debt issuance to recover.

Let me review some of the highlights from the quarter. Market Intelligence led all segments with 8% organic revenue growth. We achieved a 40 basis point improvement in adjusted operating profit margin and as I will show in a few moments an even larger increase in our trailing four-quarter figure. We continue the long track record of reducing average diluted shares outstanding with a decline of 6 million shares.

Based primarily on a lower tax rate and lower share count, we delivered 5%, adjusted diluted EPS growth. In a period when markets were ideal, we were pleased to still be able to grow adjusted diluted EPS. We generated approximately $306 million in free cash flow, excluding certain items in a seasonally low cash flow quarter. We are reaffirming 2019 adjusted guidance and finally, we launched two landmark ESG offerings that I'll review in a few minutes.

Revenue was largely unchanged versus the prior period as the decline in ratings revenue was offset by growth in the other three segments. Our adjusted operating profit increased 1% and our adjusted operating profit margin increased 40 basis points to 47.3%. But please recall we measure and track adjusted margins on a trailing four-quarter basis, which increased 230 basis points.

In addition , we continue to reduce shares outstanding, which contributed to the 5% increase in adjusted diluted EPS. Each quarter, we take an opportunity to highlight key drivers to our business and important projects under way. This quarter, let's start with the data feeds business within Market Intelligence. When most investors think about market intelligence they think about the Capital IQ or Market Intelligence Desktop. Data Management Solutions and RatingsXpress however, offer products that are ingested by our customers' data feeds. This data feed business has grown about a 11% annually for the last two years and is on track to deliver revenue of more than $600 million this year.

Historically, data feeds have primarily been made up of RatingsXpress, which is the reselling of ratings information, Compustat, and CUSIP along with other offerings, including GICS, cross-reference services and earnings estimates. In the past year, we've had a 40% increase in the number of data packages available through our data feeds. These have included alternative data such as machine-readable transcripts, Panjiva shipping data and SNL asset level data. We expect the Trucost ESG data, transcript sentiment scores and other unique datasets in the near future. The key is to deliver unique data to our customers in the form of which they need it.

Now, turning to Ratings. During the first quarter, global bond issuance decreased 3% with mixed performance in various geographies and asset classes. If we also include our bank loan ratings volume, total global issuance declined 13% .

In the US, bond issuance declined 7% as investment grade decreased 8%, high-yield increased 6%, public finance improved 17%, and structured finance declined 20% with drops in CLOs, ABS and CMBS, partially offset by gains in RMBS. In Europe, bond issuance decreased 9% as investment grade decreased 13%, high-yield declined 26%, and structured finance increased 10% due to strength in covered bonds, a category where we have very little presence. In Asia, bond issuance Increased 12%.

Last quarter, we introduced this chart to attempt to track debt issuance and global cash balances of those companies with the most overseas cash at the end of 2017. We are pleased that the cash balances of these companies continue to decline and that the issuance among these companies is showing signs of recovery after an anemic 2018.

The latest 2019 global issuance forecast is largely unchanged from the previous forecast. Excluding international public finance, which has minimal impact on our financial results, issuance is expected to decrease less than 1%. Leveraged loan activity has become an important source of revenues. These loans are increasingly rated. This chart depicts new leveraged loan volume for the past six years and excludes repricing and amend-to-extend volume.

First quarter volume is down 26%, primarily due to less M&A activity, as well as a dramatic reduction in leveraged loan fund assets. This chart shows that the for past three weeks, US leveraged loan funds have experienced significant outflows. In fact since peaking at $109 billion in October 2018, loan funds have had net outflows totaling over $25 billion. Investing in leverage loans is more appealing when rates were rising because loans have variable rates.

Now that expectations for rate increase have subsided high-yield debt looks relatively more attractive. Remember when doing your analysis, leveraged loan activity is not included in bond issuance data. And so our bank loan ratings revenue decreased in the first quarter to $67 million versus $99 million in the first quarter of 2018.

During Investor Day, we introduced the framework powering the markets for the future, including six foundational capabilities. We use this framework to set our goals and allocate resources. During our fourth quarter call, I shared projects under way in each of these categories with particular emphasis on Global with our ratings opportunity in China.

Let me start there and then highlight some new opportunities under innovation and customer orientation. After receiving approval to enter the domestic Chinese bond market in January, our official launch event took place on March 26. We hosted a half-day seminar in Beijing with 170 participants from issuing companies, fixed income investors, banks and other participants in China's financial market. This was an opportunity to showcase our new team as well as our strong commitment to bring more transparency and insights to China's financial markets, also along a vision that goes beyond our ratings business and across all of our divisions.

ESG is a major focus in the areas of customer orientation and innovation. Our ESG efforts at S&P Global span every business segment. In 2019, we anticipate ESG revenue will approach $50 million. We recognize that different clients have different needs and are trying to tailor products specific to those needs. To that end, we have created the ESG Data Factory to centralize the data collected across the company, which can be used in any of our ESG offerings. This ensures consistency of inputs across the various products as well as scale.

We're expanding on our ESG heritage in S&P Dow Jones Indices. 20 years ago, we launched the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, arguably the best known ESG Indices in the market. We are now introducing an enhanced ESG scoring methodology designed for the new S&P 500 ESG Index and the upcoming country-specific and regional ESG indices.

The scores are used as inputs to evaluate companies in the indices. The S&P DJI ESG scores are available to the market as a stand-alone product, and can be used as a tool for a broad range of research, indexing and investment purposes. The first of the new ESG Indices to launch is the S&P 500 ESG Index. An increasing number of investors require indices that are aligned not only with their investment goals, but also their individual and institutional values. The S&P 500 ESG Index is constructed with both of these in mind.

The S&P 500 ESG Index targets 75% of the traditional S&P 500's market capitalization at the industry level based on their GICS code. The index offers diversification and a profile that is close in line with that of US large cap market. UBS is the first firm to license this product for ETFs that launched last month on several European exchanges. S&P Global Ratings launched ESG evaluations to serve issuers and fixed income investors. Our ESG evaluation is across sector relative analysis of an entity's ability to operate successfully in the future, and optimize long-term stakeholder value in light of its natural and social environment and the quality of its governance.

In addition to leveraging the ESG Data Factory, the engagement that our ratings analysts have with client company management, coupled with the judgment of our analysts at unique insights to this product. Delivering innovative new products and updating existing products is an important emphasis for S&P Global. Our indices business recently launched the Global SmallCap Select Indices. this series of new indices is designed to improve long-term risk adjusted performance of small caps by excluding companies without a consistent track record of positive earnings.

In addition, Platts launched assessments of low-sulfur marine fuel in response to International Maritime Organization's 0.5% sulfur cap on marine fuel that begins in January 2020. Our new assessments are for daily cargo and barge prices of marine fuel 0.5%, reflecting global pricing of IMO 2020 compliant residual marine fuel. Based on these new assessments, ICE launched six marine fuel 0.5% future contracts on February 19, which traded 84 lots equaling over 500,000 barrels on the first day.

In March, S&P Dow Jones Indices benchmarks, including the iconic S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average became the first benchmarks to be endorsed under the EU Benchmark Regulation and included in the ESMA register, enabling supervise entity in the EU to continue to use them. And finally, Platts recently announced a change to the Dated Brent Benchmark. The proposal moves to CIF Rotterdam basis, which means it will be a landed cost. With FOB supply in the North Sea gradually falling this proposal ensure ample liquidity in grades in the Data Brent basket for the foreseeable future.

And last, I'd like to share the early success of two new price assessments we featured in previous earnings calls. These charts depict the volume of options and futures contracts that are based on Platts JKM marker and Black Sea wheat. As you can see in these charts, both price assessments are gaining great adoption in the marketplace.

And now I'd like to turn the call over to Ewout Steenbergen, our CFO, who will provide additional insights into our capital plans and financial performance. Ewout?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Doug and good morning to all of you on the call. Let me start with our first quarter financial results. Doug covered the highlights. I will take a moment to cover a few other line items. Adjusted corporate unallocated improved by 30%, primarily because the $20 million contribution to the S&P Global Foundation in the prior year period did not recur. This was partially offset by the addition of Kensho.

Total adjusted expenses decreased 1%. This is notable considering that the acquisitions of Pragmatics, Panjiva, RateWatch and Kensho have added to our cost structure. The adjusted effective tax rate was 20.9%, 80 basis points lower than a year ago and less than our full year guidance of 22.5% to 23.5%. This was primarily due to a larger than normal level of stock option exercises that occurred during the first quarter. We have actively been returning capital to shareholders over the past year. These actions resulted in a 2% decline in our diluted weighted average shares outstanding.

Stock options associated with 600,000 shares were exercised during the first quarter. This resulted in a stock-based compensation tax benefits on EPS of $0.07. As the number of employee stock options continues to decline, we expect the stock-based compensation tax benefits to decline as well. However, because of the volume of options exercised in the first quarter, we're increasing our estimate of the 2019 EPS impact by $0.05 to a range of $0.10 to $0.15. Changes in foreign exchange rates had a negative impact on the revenue in the Ratings and Market Intelligence businesses and a negligible impact on adjusted operating profit for the company.

Our revenue was negatively impacted primarily by the weakening of the euro and the British pounds. Weakness in both of these currencies, along with weakness in the Indian rupee also reduced expenses, resulting in a minimal impact from forex on adjusted EPS. Our three non-GAAP adjustments this quarter, a $113 million pre-tax non-cash charge associated with our frozen US defined benefit pension plan. This was the result of transferring a portion of our pension funding obligation to an insurance company. $7 million in Kensho retention-related expenses and we had $32 million in deal-related amortization.

This is a slide that we shared at our Investor Day in May, 2018. It depicts a framework that we outlined to show the areas where we can most impact shareholder value. The first two require investments. We need to continue to invest to fuel revenue momentum by improving our products, introducing new technology, adding new data sets and entering new geographies.

We have made great progress delivering EBITA enhancement and we must continue to fund new organic opportunities to drive additional productivity gains. Driving financial leverage involves optimizing interest cost, reducing shares outstanding and optimizing the tax rate and finally, we want to return capital to shareholders while maintaining flexible debt capacity. We are committed to returning at least 75% of annual free cash flow to shareholders each year.

This quarter our subscription businesses, Market Intelligence and Platts delivered the strongest revenue growth. As we have said many times, we manage adjusted operating margins on a trailing four-quarter basis. So, while there were declines in quarterly figures versus the first quarter of 2018, all four businesses delivered margin gains on a trailing four-quarter basis.

Now turning to the balance sheet. Cash and cash equivalents declined versus the end of 2018, principally due to $644 million of share repurchases during the first quarter. Our adjusted growth leverage to adjusted EBITDA declined to 1.8 times, remaining within our targeted range of 1.75 to 2.25 times. Free cash flow, excluding certain items, increased 3% to $306 million. This is a seasonally low free cash flow quarter with incentive compensation payments each year in the first quarter.

During the quarter, we returned $785 million to shareholders through a combination of dividends, open market purchases and an ASR. In addition, during the quarter, we received a 3.4 million shares; 0.8 million shares from open market purchases, 0.4 million shares from the true-up of the old ASR and 2.2 million shares -- initial shares from the current ASR.

Now let's turn to the segment results, starting with Market Intelligence. Market Intelligence delivered a strong quarter with revenue increasing 10%, 8% on an organic basis and active desktop user growth of 13%. I need to point out two changes that both became effective on January 1. First, we are now including Kensho revenue in Market Intelligence rather than recording it as a corporate item as we did in 2018. Second, in both periods, Trucost has been transfered from Indices to Market Intelligence. With the ESG efforts under way at Market Intelligence, we believe the business is better suited to be included here.

Adjusted expenses increased 2%, adjusted segment operating profit increased 27% and the adjusted segment operating profit margin increased 460 basis points to 33.8% despite increased investments in the business. More importantly on the trailing-four quarters basis, the business delivered an exceptional adjusted segment operating profit margin increase of 350 basis points to 35.2%. Also in March, we announced the sale of the Standard and Poor's Investment Advisory Services business to Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2019.

Desktop, the largest category grew 6%, excluding acquisitions. Data management solutions realized 11% revenue growth, once again benefiting from expansion of the data feeds business that Doug highlighted earlier. Risks Services has been renamed Credit Risk Solutions and grew 11% with RatingsXpress providing the greatest level of growth as we continue to expense the data feeds portion of Credit Risk Solutions.

While bank loan volume and bond issuance activity declined 13%, Ratings revenue only declined 7%. This decline was partially mitigated by a 2% decline in adjusted expenses, resulting in an 11% reduction in adjusted segment operating profit and a 240 basis points decline in adjusted segment operating profit margin. On a trailing four-quarter basis, adjusted segment operating profit margin increased 140 basis points to 55.4%.

Non-transaction revenue decreased primarily due to a $9 million impact from changes in foreign exchange. In addition, lower Rating Evaluation Services activity, CRISIL and slightly lower new entity ratings contributed to the decline. Inter-segment royalties from Market Intelligence partially offset these declines.

Transaction revenue decreased due to lower bank loan rating activity and to a lesser extent, fewer bonds ratings. Non-transaction revenue has been a steady source of growth. This is because the majority of the revenue is subscription like. However, there is some volatility at certain components, namely Rating Evaluation Services, ebb and flow with M&A activity and changes in foreign exchange rates can always have an impact.

This slide depicts ratings revenue by end-markets. The largest contributor to the decline in ratings revenue was the 8% decline in corporates, primarily due to less bank loan rating activity. In addition, financial services revenue decreased 2%, structured finance declined 19%, governments increased 6%, and CRISIL and other category decreased 5%. This includes an increase in inter-segment royalties for Market Intelligence, offset by a decline in CRISIL's dollar denominated revenue.

Turning to S&P Dow Jones Indices.The segment delivered 2% revenue growth, 6% adjusted expense growth, 1% adjusted segment operating profit growth and adjusted segment operating profit margin of 69.5%, a decline of 100 basis points. This margin decline was primarily the result of a revenue mix with a lower proportion of exchange traded derivative revenue than in the prior period. On a trailing four-quarter basis, adjusted segment operating profit margin increased 80 basis points to 67.7%.

Revenue was mixed during the quarter. Asset linked fees increased 9%, primarily due to an improvement in the timing of customer reporting, purchase of certain intellectual property rights and mutual funds' AUM growth. Exchange traded derivative revenue declined 32% from an incredibly strong quarter a year ago.

Data and custom subscriptions increased 28% due to a catch-up in real-time reporting that we first discussed in the second quarter of last year as well as from organic growth. Our Indices business ETF net inflows were $2 billion in the first quarter and the average ETF AUM in the first quarter increased 2% year-over-year. I want to make a clear distinction between average AUM and quarter ending AUM. Our contracts are based on average AUM we disclose quarter ending figures because flows and market gains and losses are best depicted using quarter end figures as shown in the waterfall chart on the right.

While average AUM increased modestly, quarter ending AUM increased 11% versus the end of the first quarter of 2018. A year ago, there was $1.327 trillion in ETF AUM linked to our indices. At the end of the first quarter this year, there was $1.473 trillion. Since March 31, 2018, there has been $95 billion of inflows and $51 billion in stock market appreciation. Industry inflows into exchange-traded funds were $97 billion in the first quarter with the majority going into fixed income and global equity products. Flows into US equity funds were only $7 billion.

These charts are from a report S&P Dow Jones Indices recently published and titled sector effects in the S&P 500, the role of sectors in risk, pricing and active returns. Ratable sector-based investments tools are not new. Products such as exchange-traded funds based on sector indices have existed since at least the late 1990s. However, interest in these products has recently grown materially. These charts show that the assets' open interest trading volume associated with certain index-based sector products have more than doubled in the past five years.

In addition, in February 2019, CBOE launched options on 11 of our select sector indices. These products make it easier for investors to use sectors to express views and manage sectorial exposures. Key indicators for our exchange-traded derivatives volume decreased from a volatile first quarter of 2018. S&P 500 Index options activity decreased 23%, VIX futures and options activity decreased 48% and activity at the CME equity complex decreased 23%.

Now turning to the last business segment. Platts revenue increased 5% as a result of a 5% increase in core subscriptions and a 7% increase in Global Trading Services. Adjusted expenses increased 6%, leading to adjusted segment operating profit margin of 47.4%, a decrease of 60 basis points. The trailing four-quarter adjusted segment operating profit margin was exceptional, increasing 260 basis points to 48.9%.

Platts revenue increased in the quarter as all four commodity groups reported growth. Petroleum, the largest category, delivered the most growth at 6%. Last quarter, we shared the slide on the right with you, depicting a stepped up level of investments to fuel future organic growth. However, we saw that as you try to model our results, it will be important for you to understand the level of investments in each of the segments. As you can see from the chart on the left, Market Intelligence is investing half of the total. In addition, this spending is expected to build as the year progresses.

Now, lastly I would like to discuss our 2019 guidance. This slide depicts our GAAP guidance. Please keep in mind that our guidance reflects current spot market forex rates. Because of the $113 million pre-tax non-cash charge associated with a partial risk transfer of the frozen U.S. defined benefit pension plan that I noted earlier, we are decreasing our 2019 GAAP guidance -- diluted EPS guidance.

However, because this item is not part of our adjusted results, it does not necessitate any changes to our adjusted guidance. In fact, we are not making changes to our adjusted guidance because we are optimistic about our current outlook for markets, our competitive strength and the initiatives we have under way. In addition, we continue to expect year-over-year growth as quarterly comparisons get easier as the year progresses.

With that let me turn the call back over to Chip for your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Robert S. Merritt -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Operator, we'll now take our first question.

Operator

Thank you. This question comes from Ms. Toni Kaplan from Morgan Stanley.

Toni Kaplan -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning. My first question is on ratings margins, understandably, the weakness in issuance led to the lower ratings growth in the quarter but I think margins were just a little bit lighter than what we were expecting. So I just wanted to ask at what level you start getting operating leverage in the ratings segment? Do you need sort of like a mid single-digit growth to get that leverage there? And just I guess just some additional color on what drove the margins down in the quarter will be helpful. Thank you.

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning. Tony, this is Ewout. If you look at the margin development in the first quarter of ratings, we are overall satisfied with the results we're seeing and the reason is that we are also seeing at the same time, the benefits of our productivity plans, we see expenses coming down by 2% or in dollar terms $7 million and we think that is overall showing good expense discipline within the ratings business.

But in general terms, we see that expense discipline across the enterprise in totality. Clearly, if you look more to the outlook of ratings and margins, although we don't really guide and provide specifics with respect to margin outlooks by segments, I do want to say that if you look at the remainder of the year our expectation is that margins should look better compared to the respective quarters a year ago. So overall, we still expect rating margins to expense year-over-year 2019 compare to 2018.

Toni Kaplan -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great. And my second question I wanted to ask about market intelligence, you mentioned that change with Kensho being included in there. I guess on a like-for-like basis with last quarter was the organic growth up sequentially, I imagine that it's probably a potential -- is probably pretty small. So, the 8% like a pretty good number and your user growth of 13% really strong much faster than the market.

And so just trying to I understand what you attribute sort of the really strong growth rate in market intelligence business to an international market intelligence with really strong to do so, just any colors on growth there. Thank you.

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Toni, if you look at the inorganic revenue in the market intelligence segment during this quarter, it was in total $8 million. That was driven by a couple of acquisitions by market intelligence. Think about Panjiva, think about RateWatch, as well as some contribution of revenues from Kensho, but that was only a part of that $8 million improvement in revenues on the acquisition line.

So overall, it's not a large change. As you will recall we acquired Kensho in the second quarter of 2018. So next quarter basically, this is not going to show up in the inorganic category anymore. It's becoming part of normal business as usual.

Toni Kaplan -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Fine. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from Alex Kramm of UBS.

Alex Kramm -- UBS -- Analyst

Yeah. Hey, good morning everyone. I may be splitting hairs here with my question a little bit, but I think when you talked about the taxes and the stock based impact there, I think you know basically saying you have a $0.05 higher bottom line contribution at the same time you left your EPS guidance unchanged.

Again, I think it's like less than half a percent of EPS, but just wondering you sound very positive at the outlook, but clearly you're not changing anything, despite that held. So maybe just a little discussion on the puts and takes there to leave it unchanged.

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Alex. This is Ewout. If you look at the improved impact that we are now expecting from stock based compensation, if you are looking at the guidance we have provided with respect to the effective tax rate for the full year, which is 22.5% to 23.5%, we are still within that range, now more at the lower end of the range. So therefore, overall, we have not adjusted the tax rate range in our guidance. But what I do want to say is compared to three months ago we have become incrementally more confident around our guidance in general, because you will recall, three months ago we came out of a very volatile quarter and it was very uncertain where the markets would go.

If we now look where the markets are at this point in time the outlook for the next few quarters in the year, the starting point for our subscription businesses with respect to annualized contract value, which is a leading indicator for future revenue for our subscription businesses, if you look at the starting point of ETF AUM in the second quarter of this year compared to a year ago, overall, the health of the debt markets at this point in time, we are incrementally more confident around the outlook and the guidance we have provided compared to three months ago.

Alex Kramm -- UBS -- Analyst

Fair enough. And then secondly on the index side, was a little surprised about the -- actually very good performance on the asset-based fees. Now, obviously it was challenged by the ETF business, but you mentioned some of the other things that helped like the the derivatives, I guess the OTC side and maybe some of the mutual funds. Can you just give us a little bit more detail it seems like that really helped this quarter, maybe that's a little bit lumpy, maybe there were some one-timers stuff in there.

I just want to make sure that if I think about that stuff going forward that don't to overestimate going forward I guess, maybe, maybe you can break out how big those fees are relative to the ETF side. Thank you.

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Alex. If you look first at the exchange traded derivative volume you might recall due to market volatility, there was a very large spike in February 2018. So that's not recurring, markets have more stabilized, and then you also see the volumes on the derivatives trading coming down. So we are looking more at the first quarter 2018 as an exception and this is more a normal level quarter, the first quarter of 2019. But we have always said that this business has a natural hedge. So if exchange traded derivative volume is coming down, that usually because markets are more positive and then we see the flip side with respect to the asset-based fee levels.

There is indeed a couple of elements that are going into the asset-based fee level category. Overall average AUM for ETFs was up 2%. So that helps in a modest way. Then there is also the mutual funds assets under management, where we saw a positive increase. There was not so much change with respect to the OTC levels and there was one particular administrative method. We have accelerated and implemented improvements in our processes where we have faster reporting of asset levels by certain managers. That is a one-time step up in revenues and that will from now on basically be the new normal level going forward. So that is I think the other element that goes into mix here with respect to assets under management fees. But overall, like I said, we are optimistic about the second quarter outlook, because the starting point in assets is so much better than we have seen at the beginning of the second quarter of 2018.

Alex Kramm -- UBS -- Analyst

Excellent totally get it. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question comes from Manav Patnaik from Barclays. You may ask your question.

Manv Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Thank you, good morning gentlemen. The first question I had was, I was just hoping you could help us understand the mixed components of the non-transaction piece of your ratings business like how much of that is that the way you described the subscription. And then just within that. I guess I understand why readings evaluation is down. Can you just help me understand what's going on with CRISIL?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning Manav. Non-transaction revenue was down $15 million year-over-year, of which $9 million was FX-related. So that's clearly the largest driver of non-transaction revenue. Then the second driver here was Rating Evaluation Services that is very much linked to M&A activity in the market that was relatively modest and therefore also the RES fees and revenues were a bit lower this quarter compared to a year ago.

And then what we see with CRISIL is a couple of impacts. First impact of foreign exchange, based on the difference in foreign exchange rates from a year ago between the Indian rupee and the US dollar. With respect to the research and analytics business, we see revenue coming down due to some market headwinds, but that is offset by the Indian ratings revenue, which is actually up in a healthy way.

But those are some of the elements that are happening within CRISIL. Overall, we will expect to see maybe quarter over quarter slow and modest fluctuations for non-transaction revenue. But we still expect over a longer period of time a normal trend of growth of non-transaction somewhere low to mid-single digit.

Manv Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Got it. Okay, that's very helpful. And then maybe just on the balance sheet, your leverage target or your current leverage is pretty close to your target. Just any thoughts on what the plans are there with the cash and the flexibility you have?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, we have of course, have a very clear statement with respect to our capital philosophy and our capital targets, and we are disciplined around that and we are committed to stay within the targets that we have set.

So at the point we will fall below the floor of our leverage range. We will certainly at that point, start to consider adding new leverage to our balance sheet. What we'll do with the proceeds I think is still to be determined. I think you know, our first priority is to reinvest in the business. We are investing already this year in a stepped-up way in organic initiatives. You know all of those about ESG and China and technology and Kensho and other areas. We could also use the proceeds for inorganic investments. We will continue to remain very disciplined from a valuation perspective. And then of course, the third option we have is return of capital to shareholders. So still to be determined, but we have clear targets with respect to our capital philosophy and you may expect us to continue to be committed to those targets.

Manv Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Right. Thanks a lot guys.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Tim McHugh from William Blair. You may ask your question.

Tim McHugh -- William Blair -- Analyst

Thanks. Just want to ask Platts -- the selling environment, I guess are you seeing any improvement? And I guess an update on the analytical solutions that you tried to develop over the last few years, the success with selling those to improve the growth flat.

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Hi Tim, this is Doug. Let me take that one. Well, first of all, as in the past people have always look to see if there was any kind of major correlation of Platts with commodity prices and as we've always said there some kind of a range, I'm not kidding know exactly this, but if prices get too high, sometimes it's squeeze some of the buyers if they get too low it squeezes some of the sellers and we sometimes see but we're -- we've been in a very comfortable range of the price of oil, the price of natural gas.

We've also been developing the new products, which we've been highlighting like the JKM marker, rebalancing the brand components, etcetera. So we see that we're selling into a pretty benign actually, may be neutral to positive environment for Platts. And as we've mentioned in the past, this is very much about relationships and getting out to have a commercial approach to how we are dealing with the markets. So, we are seeing what we would call a neutral to positive environment. On the analytical solutions, this continues to be part of our growth plans and investment plans, we had made as you know acquisitions in the last few years to build out a data set.

Those data sets are included in products that we actually have, as well as on their own basis. One of the early wins I'd like to mention is that as you've heard us talk about the S&P Global platform, which is a initiative we have to have a single technology base to be able to provide our information in the market. Platts is now piloting a new set of materials that they're delivering to the market, which used to be via PDF and now through subscription services. They're able to deliver all that information online where instead of Singapore PDF of customers able now to download the information, build in their spreadsheets, used in their analysis, etcetera.

So we are laying a very strong foundation for the vision of Platts analytically and one of the key elements in that was building out this S&P Global platform so we can deliver those kinds of solutions.

Tim McHugh -- William Blair -- Analyst

I think. And then just on the investment spending within, I guess, in particular market intelligence and Kensho you may become builds as the year progresses. Can you help us think about the subsequent years I guess 2020, 2021. is this an expense, I guess, spending a project level that continues to build state at this elevated level or do we start to see savings in terms of data ingested cost and so forth.

As we go out a year or two where I guess, you get a reversion relative to this -- I guess against the margins .

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Tim, if you look at the next few years for those business cases where we investing in market intelligence, a part of the current expense for this year is really for the buildup phase and we don't expect those to recur. A part is really for operations and a setup of new organizations and new products we will provide to the market. So those expenses will remain going forward. I think the biggest difference that you should expect to see is that those initiatives will start to drop off revenues over the next few years, some are little faster some a little bit further out in time.

For example, we have always said that the Chinese investments are more in a horizon of three to five years, but some other market intelligence to pay off in terms of revenue could be a bit faster. So there are, you should expect the biggest change that these investments we're doing this year will ultimately lead to an improvement of the organic growth in market intelligence going forward.

Manv Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from Mr Jeff Silber from BMO Capital. You may ask your question sir.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital -- Analyst

Thanks so much. Doug, when you started the presentation you talked about the markets having come a long way since the depths of December. I'm just curious in your conversations with issuers are they thinking the same things. I'm just wondering in terms of the outlook, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty out there. If you can provide some color, that would be great.

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Yes, there definitely is a lot of uncertainty out there, I basically divide this into two -- the positives as well as then some of the uncertainties. On the positive side, a business sentiment is still strong, consumer sentiment is strong, banking balance sheets are very strong. There's abundant capital, the accommodative policies of the central banks around the world have continued in place with very cheap capital and in Europe in particular flood of liquidity into the markets.

So there is very, very strong condition. And then we've also seen economic growth, even though it slowed down a little bit in China and Europe; the US just had a very strong quarter and our own estimations are for a slight slowdown in global growth from last year, but still a global growth and we also see a low probability, 20% or so probability of the recession in the US in the next 12 months, which is actually a very low level.

Now, what are some of the challenges or uncertainties, clearly there is uncertainties around trade. There is still, the markets are still waiting to see what's going to happen at the US China trade negotiations. European markets are still quite weak, Southern Europe in particular and even though Brexit is something that we were panicking about a few weeks ago, and it went away for six months Brexit still needs to be resolved. So you still have some political issues and trade issues that create some of the uncertainty. And then as I said, Europe is also continues to be a pretty weak area.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital -- Analyst

Okay. Appreciate the color. And Ewout, in terms of my follow-up, I know you haven't disclosed the potential details regarding the sale of the SPIAS business. But can you give us an order of magnitude roughly how large that business is so we can take that out of our model?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. We have not disclosed those details. But overall, you should see that that is a relatively small business for us and so not a material large impact on the results and the difference in your models. I would say relatively small.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital -- Analyst

Okay, and that's happening at the end of the second quarter is that we said?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. We expect closing somewhere mid of this year. So if you model this, you should probably take it out for the second half of this year.

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. Thanks so much.

Operator

Our next question comes from Mr. George Tong from Goldman Sachs. Sir, you may ask your question.

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hi, thanks good morning. Your overall global issuance forecast for the full year is unchanged at down less than 1%. Drilling deeper into the individual categories of debt, can you discuss how your issuance expectations for the year have changed and what implications there would be from a pricing and mix perspective?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Hi, George. This is Doug. As we've looked at this and we've made a couple of quick adjustments to it looking at what we see from the pipelines from speaking with the debt underwriters investment banks by looking, what we see from issuers as well as taking a look at what we see in terms of credit conditions and global markets.

As you see it's relatively unchanged, there is a slight, slight change in what we expect for corporates to be up a little bit, for financial institutions to be down a little bit, for public finance to be down a little bit, but net-net, the overall change is very similar to what we had before, and the differences across those different asset classes and different types of industries are so minor. It doesn't really have much of a change in what we'd look forward in terms of revenues and our revenue mix.

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. And then looking at operating margins at Platts, they declined in the quarter despite reasonable revenue growth. Can you talk about what drove the margin decline and how you expect profitability at Platts to evolve over the course of the year?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

George, that was mostly driven by timing of certain expenses. So we had particularly some expenses related to initiatives and events that were a bit higher this quarter. We don't expect that to continue for the remainder of the year. So therefore from a margin perspective, we are very comfortable with respect to the outlook of the margins for Platts. And we still expect that the margins will develop in the favorable way for the next three quarters, compared to a year ago.

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Very helpful, thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Mr. Joseph Foresi from Cantor Fitzgerald. You may ask your question.

Drew Kootman -- Cantor Fitzgerald -- Analyst

Hi, this is Drew Kootman on for Joe. Had a quick question on China, you mentioned you had a seminar in Beijing and I was just wondering if you could provide any updates or give us a better understanding of the risks you may be seeing in the region.

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Well, first of all, thanks for the question. Drew, nice to hear you today. We opened up our credit rating agency in China officially on March 26 with a seminar. We felt it was valuable to launch this with an approach to having relationships with issuers, with investors, with market players, with debt underwriters, financial institutions, et cetera by introducing them to our employees, by talking about our methodology and talking about how we're heading into the market with this a very transparent approach to credit ratings.

Since then, we continue to see customers, we're now up to having -- had over 250 calls with relationships that we're starting to build to open up the rating agency and to be able to do more and more issuance there. We have not done in issuance so far. When it comes to some of the risks when we look at China, clearly there is discussion about the level of growth in China and then the type of growth that China has been developing. As you know, few years ago China was very much of an investment led export-oriented economy, they've shifted more toward a consumer-oriented consumption economy with a lot more investment in the domestic markets.

We think that there are a few sectors which we're watching carefully there, which would be a couple of property sectors. In addition, there some municipal debt, which has been growing, but we don't see any major credit bubbles right now in China. If we did, we would raise those. But we think we're off to a great start very enthusiastic reception from the market players as well as excellent relationships with the key regulators and official market players and we need to be working with to ensure the success of our ratings business in China.

Drew Kootman -- Cantor Fitzgerald -- Analyst

Great. And then you talked about Kensho a couple of questions ago. So, are you seeing any updates on the progress that you're seeing from Kensho and RateWatch and just anything moving forward?

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

We're still very excited about Kensho and what Kensho is doing for S&P Global as a catalyst for innovation and change in our thinking with respect to our business models, our proposition to the markets. There's new initiatives going on, we have actually a very interesting initiative going on in Platts at this moment. And there's a lot of enthusiasm from the Platts leadership team around the implementation of that initiative as well and we are continuing on some of the implementation of the other initiatives that we told you before, think about some of the new initiatives around search, the Omnisearch on the platform that we expect to introduce in a beta form later this year.

With respect to the financials update and particularly with respect to value creation updates, we're planning to give you more details once a year. We did that at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. So, we will provide you more details on that by the end of this year again.

Drew Kootman -- Cantor Fitzgerald -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

This question comes from Craig Huber from Huber Research Partners. Sir, you may ask your question.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Thank you, Doug. I wanted just focus on China if we can for your ratings business. Just curious how big of an effort you guys have rolled out there. I guess number of analysts. If you could share that you have in that market right now. I believe globally you have probably something like 1,400, 1,500 analysts in ratings around the world. Can you just clarify that? But as you sort of think of the China market from a ratings standpoint, S&P standpoint, how big of an opportunity you think this is kind of going forward, how do you -- what's your general sense, how you think it might scale up this calendar year and next year as you sort of talk about talk with market participants and stuff.

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Thanks, Craig. Well, first of all just a brief comment on how we ramp this up. Because I think that's important. As we've been going through this market for the last few years trying to build up a relationship to understand the dynamics of the domestic market, we wanted to make sure that we built this out with a consolidated approach with a long-term view. What we did is we originally started with 10 veteran S&P Global analysts who are Mandarin speakers that we brought from offshore and they spent a month building our criteria working on how we are going to be able to rate in the market using domestic criteria, domestic understanding of bankruptcy laws -- recovery laws et cetera, and then they back tested 400 credits to ensure that we have the right kind of criteria in place.

As we are doing that, we went out to the market and hired 21 more analysts. So right now we have 31 analysts covering the Chinese market. They've covered 40 different sectors and different types of sectors and sub sectors and they've done the 400 plus initial credit reviews that they've done and now with that, our sales teams are out in the market discussing what that means and building up those relationships.

Now just in terms of similar size, you've heard this before. It's the second largest bond market in the world after the U.S. It's close to bypassing the Japan also on the public side as well. They have -- most of the bonds are held by banks and financial institutions are still not necessarily into a pension system and individual holders and only 2% of the bonds are held offshore by foreign investors. So we think that the dynamics of the markets shifting from a short-term bond market, a typical bond is about a three-year duration more or less as opposed to US which is depending on which market you look at 7 to 11 year duration. It's a very short-term duration, it's still being held by financial institutions with very little international presence.

We think that all of that's going to change and that is that changes, this is the opportunity for ratings. We have not built out a very aggressive revenue model for the first year. We think this is an investment year. And we think that over time we're going to build out our revenue model. I'd prefer to come back to you as the year progresses, with some more information that could be either financial or directional because we're really right now just at the ground floor of getting this thing off and running.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Great, thank you, Doug.

Operator

This question will come from Mr. Peter Appert from Piper Jaffray. Sir, you may ask your question.

Peter Appert -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Thank you. So Doug, I was just interested in your thoughts on, particularly for the second quarter what you're seeing in terms of activity in the debt market and related to that. I'm wondering if refi activity is impacted by the more stable rate environment?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Yes. So what we've seen so far in the second quarter. It's only been a month, it's a similar to the kind of mix we saw throughout the first part of the year. Europe is still weak. The European markets were very weak in the first quarter. In fact if you look at the total market in Europe, the financial institutions was down 25% in the first quarter, total Europe was down 8%, in Europe the investment grade is down 12.5%, high-yield is down 25% and we've seen that continue.

So you have very specific conditions in Europe that are a little bit different than the rest of world partially because of the economy slowed down, there is some uncertainty. And then also you you have a new round of liquidity being pumped into the banks by the, by the ECB. It's an LTRO like situation and very, very low interest rates.

So putting Europe aside and coming to the US. What we saw in the US in the first quarter was a -- as you know there was a very, the bank loan activity was down over 26% on new bank loan, but high yield issuance was actually up 6%. It's not quite apples-for-apples ,but it is the markets that those types of bars would go to, they'll decide if they're going to go to the fixed income market or the or the loan market. We have seen in April some refinancing starting to pop in as well as new issuance and we've seen -- it was -- April was not a great month either. But overall, though we did see a lot of the activity was people coming back to market for refinancing.

One last trend that we mentioned -- Ewout mentioned in his comments that M&A activity was weak during the first quarter, actually in that fourth quarter and in the first quarter this year was is the pipeline is actually started looking a lot better when you look at deals announced. So the one of the charts that I track, which looks at deals announced is actually started popping up, which is usually a good indicator for our Ratings Evaluation Services as well as issuance down the road.

Peter Appert -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Thank you. And then just on the market intelligence quickly, Doug, your performance as mentioned earlier, is quite a bit better than what we're seeing from the industry overall. Is it possible to sort of delineate how much of that is a function of share gains versus some of the product line extensions you've been offering?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

I don't have a precise answer for you to give you what's from share gains. But what I can tell you is that a lot of our growth and you saw in the charts today is coming from what I would call the newer or non-traditional products. We had strong growth in the -- on the desktop, which you saw. But we had even stronge rgrowth from data feeds and from Credit Services and things that we see or where the demands are growing from our users. The users are looking for more and more granular data and and new ways to incorporate data into their own modeling and so that trend is something that I think we are investing in and we think it's going to continue going forward. But I don't have any specific comments about share gain.

Robert S. Merritt -- Vice President, Investor Relations

The only thing I would add is that if you think about our customer base versus some of our competitors we're much less dependent on Wall Street. So I think that also plays into the numbers as well.

Peter Appert -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Thanks, Peter.

Operator

Thank you. Mr. Bill Warmington from Wells Fargo. You may ask your question.

Bill Warmington -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Good morning, everyone. So a question for you about the competitive landscape, one of your main ratings competitor has been aggressively adding commercial real estate data assets with a view to leveraging that data throughout ratings, I think Reis, CompStak and so on. Is that an area of focus for you as well something you need to have in your arsenal?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

We've looked at what we need to have to enhance and improve and continually update our approach to ratings, as well as all of our analytical products is right now our major emphasis is on ESG. As you can see we believe that there is a exploding demand. We don't know how it's defined yet or what direction it's going. But we think it's exploding for ESG data and content.

So this is where, this quarter you saw that we launched our last quarter, in the first quarter, we launched two significant benchmarks for ESG products, which were out working on and building up. When it comes to specific data, whether it would be real estate or if it's information about interest rates or credit recoveries et cetera we believe that we either have or have access to adequate information to fulfill our duty to produce excellent ratings.

Bill Warmington -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Okay. And then a question based on some of Ewout's comments about the first quarter ETF inflows, you mentioned that they had come in at $97 billion. But the US equity flows --inflows were about $7 billion. I just wanted to get your thoughts on whether you saw that as a short-term phenomenon or more of a longer-term trend.

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Bill. This is clearly short-term. We see always some fluctuations in flows going in different asset categories either from a geographical perspective or from an asset class perspective. Overall these movements can defer quarter-by-quarter, but we are looking at the overall ETF market share that we are having, of the overall assets under management that are using our indices that's close to 30% and that number is basically stable already for a longer period of time.

So our market share is continuing to be good. We're leading with that market share, and this is really fluctuation period over period, if we look at flows for example to US equities in the month of April, we've seen that those are actually pretty robust. So this, it's going to really move around a bit.

Bill Warmington -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Excellent, thank you very much for the color.

Operator

Thank you. We will now take our final question from Shlomo Rosenbaum from Stifel. You may ask your question.

Shlomo Rosenbaum -- Stifel -- Analyst

Hi, good morning and thank you for squeezing me in. Hey Doug, maybe you can just elaborate a little bit more on the Kensho investment. It's going be 30% of planned investment. Could you talk about any potentially new initiatives that might be going on right now or things that you want to highlight now. So is it people costs and I just want to be clear that this, I don't think the retention bonuses included in there, but can you just clarify that?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Yes, so first of all the Shlomo thanks for asking the question. We are really thrilled and very pleased with having made the Kensho acquisition in all of the difference that it's making across the company, we've traditionally had a couple of areas that we've highlighted, which were data linking, we talked about enhanced search capabilities and search capability and omnisearch capability. Ewout just mentioned something that's going on with Platts where we have now a team embedded in Platts working on the market on close process to find different ways to look at the value of information and to get it in a faster way, as well as identified potential opportunities to continue to improve our business model and if I use those as a few of the examples, those are there's activities like that. Now going on in ratings, indices and also even some of our corporate functions. They're helping us look at some of the ways we manage the business overall. And as a result of the early wins that we've had, we decided that it's valuable to invest in our businesses for growth opportunities and this is where the investments are coming from Kensho.

So they're related to investments in growth there and related to where we're going to be either opening new markets or launching new products where we think that Kensho can help us with that some of those expenses are people and some of those expenses or additional computing capacity or capacity for data tools, et cetera. But all of them are based on early results that we're very comfortable with, the progress with Kensho and they all geared toward growth although I would say there is some of the data work that's going on will potentially lead to productivity as well. So we're not just putting productivity behind us. But a lot of this is being geared toward growth opportunities.

Shlomo Rosenbaum -- Stifel -- Analyst

Okay, great. In the investments are not part of the retention payments, right? These are actual incremental investments?

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

These are incremental investments

Shlomo Rosenbaum -- Stifel -- Analyst

Okay, great, thank you so much.

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Thank you. Well, let me just wrap this up. And first of all thank everyone for joining the call today. As you -- as you've heard from us, we continue to be committed to growing our businesses to investing for growth, to finding new ways to continue to have productivity, we're using our framework of powering the markets for the future and the foundational capabilities as a guide frame for us will continue to show that to you as we use that as the consistent approach for speaking with our Board of Directors about our long-term growth with our employees and also with our shareholders. So we look forward to being back in touch with you at the end of the second quarter. And with that, thank you again, always for your great questions and for your support. Thank you again.

Operator

That concludes this morning's call. A PDF version of the presenter slides is available now for downloading from investor.spglobal.com. A replay of this call including the Q&A session will be available in about two hours. The replay will be maintained on S&P Global's website for 12 months from today and by telephone for one month from today, on behalf of S&P Global, we thank you for participating, and wish you a good day.

Duration: 73 minutes

Call participants:

Robert S. Merritt -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Douglas L. Peterson -- President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Ewout Lucien Steenbergen -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Toni Kaplan -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Alex Kramm -- UBS -- Analyst

Manv Patnaik -- Barclays -- Analyst

Tim McHugh -- William Blair -- Analyst

Jeff Silber -- BMO Capital -- Analyst

George Tong -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Drew Kootman -- Cantor Fitzgerald -- Analyst

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Peter Appert -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Bill Warmington -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Shlomo Rosenbaum -- Stifel -- Analyst

More SPGI analysis

Transcript powered by AlphaStreet

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.