Morgan Stanley posts record profit as trading booms

Morgan Stanley posts record profit as trading booms

US investment bank caps buoyant earnings season across Wall Street

Morgan Stanley’s earnings jumped 51 per cent in the final three months of the year, sending profits at the US bank to a record annual high and capping a strong results season across Wall Street driven by a boom in trading and fundraising.

The US bank, which has been investing heavily in its wealth and investment management divisions in recent years, posted net income of $3.39bn in the fourth quarter, versus $2.24bn a year earlier.

Earnings per share for the three months, at $1.81, were significantly higher than the $1.25 predicted by analysts in a Bloomberg poll. Revenues also beat expectations and hit $13.6bn. Annual profits came in at $11bn, surpassing the $9bn record set last year. 

“It was a combination [of the firm and the environment],” said Jon Pruzan, chief financial officer. “We saw exceptional support from central banks and strong fiscal policy supports during the health crisis . . . We supported our clients and were extraordinarily active, and very disciplined around our risk, and that led to record results.”