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Morgan Stanley sees US strength, 'slow grind' in Europe

Morgan Stanley sees a "slow grind" ahead for markets and growth in Europe and an improving picture in the United States, CFO Ruth Porat told CNBC on Tuesday.

While earnings estimates for companies in the S&P 500 wouldn't suggest strength in U.S. equities, Porat said those projections are reflecting the downward revisions for oil and other companies adversely exposed to low crude prices.

"What you're not yet seeing is the oil dividend that's going to be coming through across a number of industries," she said during a "Squawk Box" interview. "So we do feel quite positive about the U.S."

On Monday, S&P Capital IQ reported quarterly earnings for the S&P 500 were on track to grow by 7.8 percent. Nine of 10 sectors were expected to show positive earnings growth in the fourth quarter, with energy sector earnings heading for a 22-percent contraction.

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In Europe, Morgan Stanley is seeing early signs of benefits from the European Central Bank's bond-buying program and investor interest across asset classes, she said. However, Porat acknowledged the recovery would be lengthy as the market looks to break through 1 percent GDP growth.

Porat said Morgan Stanley expects "nice upside" in Japan on the back of the oil dividend and ongoing structural reform efforts under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As for Morgan Stanley's trading business, Porat said equity and fixed income activity are "quite strong" and the firm is seeing "a high level of engagement" among both retail and institutional investors. Trading was slower in January than at the same time last year, but it is picking up into the quarter, she said.