Net income rose to $2.67 billion from $1.84 billion a year earlier, according to a statement Wednesday from the New York-based bank. Earnings per share climbed to $1.45, beating the $1.26 average estimate of analysts in a survey by database provider FactSet.
Stock-trading revenue increased by 27% from a year earlier to $2.56 billion, Morgan Stanley said. Revenue from fixed-income trading was $1.87 billion, up 9%.
The result compared with a 26% gain reported Tuesday by Morgan Stanley's main Wall Street rival, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) .
"Each of our businesses performed well, with significant client engagement across our global franchise, and sales and trading a particular highlight in a more active environment," CEO James Gorman said in the statement.
Morgan Stanley joins Goldman and other Wall Street rivals including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) in reporting higher profit due to a resurgence in stock-market volatility in recent months as traders speculated over the pace of Federal Reserve interest-rate increases, U.S. trade tensions with China and the data-privacy scandal at Facebook Inc. (FB) .
The CBOE Volatility Index, a key gauge of market volatility known as the "VIX," was 43% higher on average during the first quarter when compared with a year earlier.