Morgan Stanley Profit Falls More Than Expected


Morgan Stanley said on Wednesday its third-quarter earnings fell as the broad selloff in mortgage and corporate loan markets this summer delivered a $940 million blow to the broker.

The No. 2 investment bank by market value said earnings from continuing operations fell 7% to $1.47 billion, or $1.38 a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 31, from $1.59 billion, or $1.50, a year earlier. Both periods exclude results from Discover Financial Services, a credit card company spun off in June.

On that basis, Morgan Stanley fell short of the average analyst estimate of $1.54 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Wall Street suffered its worst summer in years as a slowdown in housing markets triggered a broader credit crunch that hammered the value of mortgages, asset-backed securities and corporate loans earmarked for buyouts.

Breaking Down the Brokers

As a result, Morgan reported $940 million of losses from writing down the value of loans and commitments in its fixed income sales and trading business.

"This is disappointing," said Meg McMullen, president of New England Research & Management. "When Morgan Stanley has lower trading revenue, we have problems."

Shares of Morgan Stanley fell 1.6% in premarket trading. Morgan Stanley shares fell 24% during the second quarter, when broker dealers on average fell 4%, driven by fears of sinking asset values.  

Wall Street's banks rallied Tuesday after Lehman Bros. reported better-than-expected results. Bank shares also rose on assurances that the worst of the credit crisis was over, and the Federal Reserve cut benchmark interest rates.

Morgan's net revenue rose 13% to $7.96 billion from last year. Like Lehman, weaker fixed income results were offset by surging investment banking and equities trading.

Profit at Discover Financial Services , the credit card division spun off on June 30, fell 17% to $1.54 billion, or $1.44 per Morgan share.

Including results from Discover and other items, Morgan Stanley's net income fell 17% to $1.54 billion.