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Morgan Stanley tops expectations on wealth management, trading and investment banking results

Morgan Stanley jumps on earnings beat

Morgan Stanley on Tuesday posted results that topped analysts’ estimates for profit and revenue as wealth management, trading and investment banking exceeded expectations.

Here’s what the company reported:

  • Earnings: $2.02 a share, vs. $1.66 expected, according to LSEG
  • Revenue: $15.14 billion, vs. expected $14.41 billion

The bank said first-quarter profit rose 14% from a year earlier to $3.41 billion, or $2.02 a share, helped by rising results at each of its three main divisions. Revenue climbed 4% to $15.14 billion.

Shares of the bank jumped about 2.5%.

Wealth management revenue rose 4.9% to $6.88 billion, topping the StreetAccount estimate by $230 million, as rising markets helped boost fee revenue and offset a decline in interest income.

Equities trading revenue increased 4.1% to $2.84 billion, $160 million more than expected, fueled by derivatives volumes. Fixed income trading revenue slipped 3.5% to $2.49 billion, but that still topped expectations by $120 million.

Investment banking revenue jumped 16% to $1.45 billion, edging out the $1.40 billion estimate, as increases in debt and equity issuance offset lower fees from acquisitions.

The firm’s smallest division, investment management, was the only major business to underperform expectations. While revenue climbed 6.8% to $1.38 billion, it was below the $1.43 billion StreetAccount estimate.

CEO Ted Pick’s tenure had kicked off on a rocky note, as high interest rates have incentivized the bank’s wealth management customers to move cash into higher-yielding securities. The bank’s shares have declined nearly 7% this year before Tuesday.

But like rivals including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley was helped by strong trading and investment banking results in the quarter.

Last week, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup each topped expectations for revenue and profit, a streak continued by Goldman on Monday and Bank of America on Tuesday.

Analysts questioned Pick about reports that multiple U.S. regulators are investigating Morgan Stanley for potential shortfalls in how it screens clients for its wealth management division.

“We’ve been focused on our client on-boarding and monitoring processes for a good while,” Pick said Tuesday. “We have been spending time, effort and money for multiple years, and it is ongoing. We’ve been on it and the costs associated with this are largely in the expense run rate.”

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