Morgan Stanley posts $958 million profit as wealth management grows

NEW YORK, Thu Apr 18, 2013 — Morgan Stanley reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit of $958 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $119 million, as its wealth management business grew.

The sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets said on Thursday it earned 49 cents per share on a consolidated basis in the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of 6 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding a charge related to debt value adjustment, or changes in the value of the company’s debt, Morgan Stanley earned $1.2 billion, or 61 cents per share.

On the same basis, analysts had expected earnings of 57 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, revenue from fixed income and commodities trading fell to $1.5 billion from $2.6 billion a year earlier, reflecting declines in commodities and rates.

Shares of the bank, which has reported a profit excluding items in every quarter since the first quarter of 2012, were down 2.3 percent at $20.98 before the bell.

Excluding items, total revenue fell 4.8 percent to $8.48 billion, beating the average analyst forecast of $8.35 billion.

Revenue in the wealth management group, which had been expected to drive earnings, rose 5.4 percent to $3.47 billion, making up about 41 percent of total revenue.