BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, said first-quarter profits were steady, bolstered by strong inflows into its popular iShares exchange-traded fund business.

But despite the inflows and booming equity markets during the first quarter, revenue at New York-based BlackRock declined $33 million, or 1 percent, to $2.2 billion, the firm said on Wednesday. Investors continued to favor the firm's indexed funds over actively managed accounts, which typically generate higher fees, though not necessarily higher profit margins.

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