Morgan Stanley beats estimates on higher trading revenue

Morgan Stanley’s profit was driven by gains in its fixed income and equities trading businesses. Above, the bank’s London headquarters at Canary Wharf. (Reuters)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Morgan Stanley beats estimates on higher trading revenue

  • Morgan Stanley said net income rose to $2.4 billion in the quarter from $1.8 billion a year ago
  • Banks are benefiting from increased market volatility due in part to escalating trade tensions

NEW YORK: Morgan Stanley reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by gains in its fixed income and equities trading businesses, rounding up a strong earnings season for US banks.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. have all reported second-quarter earnings which beat expectations, with only Wells Fargo & Co. missing estimates.
Banks are benefiting from increased market volatility due in part to escalating trade tensions causing investors to buy and sell assets to protect their portfolios and take advantage of opportunities. Morgan Stanley highlighted its equity financing business and a stronger performance in commodities and credit products.
Morgan Stanley said net income rose to $2.4 billion in the quarter from $1.8 billion a year ago. Earnings per share rose to $1.30 from $0.87 the year before, beating the average analyst expectation of $1.11 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.
Shares in Morgan Stanley were up 2.9 percent in premarket trading.
Chief Executive Officer James Gorman said the bank had seen strength across all its businesses and geographies.
“The second quarter performance reflected active markets and healthy client engagement,” he said in a statement.
Net revenue from the bank’s sales and trading business rose 18 percent to $3.8 billion, with fixed income and equity trading businesses recording gains of 12 percent and 15 percent.
Rival Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday its trading revenue rose 17 percent, with bond trading showing a 45 percent jump and equity revenue remaining flat in its second quarter.
Morgan Stanley’s net revenue rose 12 percent to $10.6 billion, with institutional securities accounting for 54 percent of the gains. Institutional securities business comprises the bank’s investment banking and trading units.
The bank said net revenue at its wealth management business rose to $4.3 billion from $4.2 billion a year ago.


World’s biggest sovereign fund worried about trade wars

Updated 21 August 2018
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World’s biggest sovereign fund worried about trade wars

  • The fund posted a positive return of 1.8 percent, or 167 billion kroner ($19.8 billion), in the second quarter
  • Markets are worried about a trade dispute between the United States and China

OSLO: The managers of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, expressed concern Tuesday about global trade tensions, which could heavily impact its value.
The fund posted a positive return of 1.8 percent, or 167 billion kroner ($19.8 billion), in the second quarter, helping erase a loss of 171 billion kroner in January-March that was attributed to a volatile stock market.
The Government Pension Fund Global, which saw its total value swell to 8.33 trillion kroner by the end of June, manages the country’s oil revenues in order to finance Norway’s generous welfare state when its oil and gas wells run dry.
But Norway’s central bank, which runs the fund, said geopolitical and trade tensions presented a risk.
“It’s fair to say that increased trade barriers or even trade wars will not be beneficial for the fund as a long-term global investor,” Trond Grande, the deputy chief of Norges Bank Investment Management, told reporters.
Markets are worried about a trade dispute between the United States and China. Accusing Beijing of unfair competition, the US administration is considering slapping a new round of levies worth $200 billion on Chinese goods.
Talks between the two slated for Wednesday and Thursday aimed at resolving the dispute have however eased concerns somewhat.
Following US-Turkey tensions that sent the Turkish lira and the Istanbul stock market tumbling, the Norwegian fund said its assets there were worth less than the 23 billion kroner they were at the beginning of the year.
“We’ve seen the market rise for a long time, that there are different political and geopolitical events in the world that can affect the market, and we have to be prepared for the fact that (the value of) the fund can go down a lot,” Grande concluded.
The fund’s strong second quarter was attributed primarily to its share portfolio, which accounts for 66.8 percent of its investments and which rose by 2.7 percent.
Real estate holdings, which account for 2.6 percent of its holdings, rose by 1.9 percent, while bond investments, which represent 30.6 percent, remained flat.
Faced with falling oil revenues in recent years, the Norwegian government has been tapping the fund to finance public spending since 2015. But with oil prices recovering, the fund registered its first inflow in three years in June.