Morgan Stanley's first-quarter results just beat expectations

Jessica Morris
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Morgan Stanley's income jumped to $2.31bn (Source: Getty)

Morgan Stanley has followed in the footsteps of rivals Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan with a better-than-expected set of first quarter results, which further signal the revival of the struggling investment banking sector.

It said net income jumped to $2.31bn (£1.55bn) in the first quarter of 2015, compared to $1.45bn a year earlier. This works out at $1.18 per share, which was above analyst expectations of 78 cents per share, and up from 74 cents per share a year earlier.

"This was our strongest quarter in many years, with improved performance across most areas of the firm," chief executive James Gorman said in a statement today.

The results were driven by increasingly choppy global markets which helped keep the bank's trading desks busy.

Equity sales and trading net revenues climbed to $2.3bn, up from $1.7bn a year ago. And fixed income and commodities sales and trading net revenues rose to $1.9bn, higher than the $1.7bn posted a year ago.

"[This reflected] the strength in commodities and higher revenues in rates and foreign exchange, partly offset by lower results in credit products," it said.

Morgan Stanley has been working to move the business away from trading, and towards wealth management, freeing up capital and helping it meet increasingly demanding regulatory requirements.

The move comes as commentators are calling time on the massive global investment banks, as increased regulatory scrutiny makes doing business harder.

Revenue in the bank's wealth management business rose 6.2 percent to $3.83bn, equating to 39 percent of total revenue.

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