Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

( MWD) missed its target. The financial giant this morning posted third-quarter earnings of $1.09 a share, missing the 14-analyst estimate of $1.17, but up from year-ago earnings of 83 cents a share. That's despite an increase of 28% in the firm's third-quarter profits.

The news is a surprise since fellow brokerage firms

Lehman Brothers

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( LEH) and

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report

posted strong earnings results earlier this week.

Morgan Stanley said its investment banking revenues, which are largely generated from fees for helping companies sell stock and advising on mergers, slid 3% to $1.2 billion.