Lazard first-quarter profit misses estimate as expenses weigh

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FILE PHOTO: The logo and trading information for Lazard Ltd appear on a screen on the floor at theNYSE in New York

(Reuters) -Investment bank Lazard Ltd said on Friday its first-quarter profit narrowly missed Street estimates, as higher spending and a weaker-than-expected performance in its corporate business offset strength from record dealmaking activity.

The bank reported an adjusted net income of $101 million, or 87 cents per share, missing Street estimates of 89 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The bank also reported higher-than-expected expenses in the reported quarter, primarily due to spending on compensation and other benefits, which eclipsed gains from the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity.

Global M&A activity posted a year-to-date record in the first quarter this year, helped by a boom in the stock markets and the Federal Reserve's commitment to keep monetary policy loose.

The bank, whose business is split between asset management and financial advisory, reported a 23% surge in net revenue to $660 million. Its operating revenue in the quarter rose 15% to $648 million.

Operating revenue from the financial advisory business grew 8% to $317 million, while revenue from the asset management arm rose 22% to $328 million in the quarter.

Shares of Lazard were down over 1% in trading before the bell.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)