Morgan Stanley beats analysts' estimates for first-quarter profit and revenue

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Morgan Stanley posted profit and revenue that exceeded analyst’ expectations.

Under Chief Executive Officer James Gorman, Morgan Stanley has emphasized its wealth management division, a far steadier business than its trading operations.

But Morgan Stanley still has a sizable Wall Street trading and advisory business, and that will likely weigh on the bank’s first-quarter results. Morgan Stanley has the biggest stock-trading business among U.S. investment banks.

Last month, Gorman’s second-in-command, Colm Kelleher, announced plans to retire in June. The move will leave the position of president at Morgan Stanley vacant, setting up a contest among executives who want to someday succeed Gorman.

Morgan Stanley is the last of the six largest U.S. banks to report first quarter earnings. J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America posted record profits on the strength of their consumer-banking operations, while Wells Fargo and Citigroup posted mixed results.

Here’s what Wall Street expected:
Earnings: $1.17 per share, 20% lower than a year earlier, according to Refinitiv
Revenue: $9.94 billion, 10% lower than a year earlier
Wealth management: $4.19 billion, according to FactSet
Trading: equities $2.11 billion, fixed Income $782.3 million

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