Will These Results Raise Eyebrows on Wall Street?

Increases in wealth management and investment banking pushed Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE:MS) fourth-quarter earnings above analysts’ expectations. But despite these positives, the results revealed continued problems in the firm’s business.

For the fourth quarter, Morgan Stanley reported a profit of $481 million, or 25 cents per share, compared to a loss of 15 cents per share in the year-ago quarter, but the firm’s results included one-time accounting charges stemming from its credit spreads. Fourth-quarter charges also affected the firm’s revenue, which came in at $7 billion for the three-month period, an increase of 23 percent from the same quarter last year.

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However, when the charges were excluded, Morgan Stanley had a profit of 45 cents per share, beating the 27-cents-per-share profit analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted.

While Morgan Stanley’s quarterly results showed improvement year-over-year, revenue fell 19 percent to $26.1 billion for the full year. In comparison, its rival Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reported that annual revenue increased 19 percent in 2012…

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