UPDATE 1-Prudential Financial delivers big EPS beat in first quarter

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NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - Prudential Financial Inc on Tuesday posted profits that topped analysts’ estimates by nearly 50% for the first quarter, boosted by record results in its asset management and retirement business.

The Newark, New Jersey-based insurer said adjusted earnings were a record $4.11 per share. That compares with the $2.76 average of analysts’ estimates complied by Refinitiv.

Adjusted operating profit in its global asset management unit rose to $651 million in the quarter from $164 million a year ago, including a $378 million gain from selling its stake in an Italian joint venture, Pramerica SGR.

In the retirement business, adjusted operating profit rose to $623 million from $245 million a year ago, primarily reflecting better spreads on its investments.

The company added $500 million to its share buyback program and said it expects to spend $2 billion on share repurchases this year, part of a $10.5 billion in repurchases authorized over the next three years.

Prudential said revenue rose 11% to $14.2 billion and assets under management jumped 12% to $1.663 trillion.

Reporting by Alwyn Scott Editing by Chris Reese and Sam Holmes