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Morgan Stanley Beats on Fourth-Quarter Earnings Forecasts

Morgan Stanley posts a fourth-quarter earnings beat thanks to strong performances in the bank's wealth management and asset management groups.

Morgan Stanley (MS) - Get Morgan Stanley Report on Wednesday posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings thanks to robust performances in the bank's wealth management and asset management groups.

Morgan Stanley said it earned $3.7 billion in the fourth quarter, or $2.01 a share, vs. $3.4 billion, or $1.81 a share in the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $1.94 a share.

Revenue rose a moderate 1% to $14.5 billion from $13.5 billion thanks in part to a solid performance in the bank's core wealth management business. Analysts had been looking for total revenue to come in at a slightly higher $14.6 billion.

Wealth management revenue rose 10% to $6.3 billion, which included adding record net new assets of $438 billion. Investment management revenue, meantime, jumped 67% to $6.2 billion from $3.7 billion a year ago. Institutional securities revenue came in at $29.8 billion vs. $26.5 billion last year. 

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Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman noted the firm delivered record net revenue of $60 billion with "...stand-out results in each of our business segments." 

Combined with investment management, the firm now has $6.5 trillion in client assets.

"Our integrated investment bank has continued to gain wallet share. We have a sustainable business model with scale, capital flexibility, momentum and growth,” Gorman said.

Morgan Stanley said it repurchased $2.8 billion of its outstanding common stock during the quarter as part of its share repurchase program, while its board declared a 70-cent quarterly dividend per share, payable on February 15 to common shareholders of record on January 31.

At check, shares of Morgan Stanley were up 0.94% at $94.89 in premarket trading.