Market Shrugs Off Morgan Stanley Report

Morgan Stanley shares traded higher Wednesday despite a published report saying the securities firm lost $5.4 billion in a private equity real estate fund.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

shares traded higher Wednesday despite a

Wall Street Journal

report saying the securities firm lost $5.4 billion in a private equity real estate fund.

Citing documents that Morgan Stanley sent to investors, the

WSJ

said the $5.4 billion in losses came on multiple investments, including deals involving the European Central Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, a large development property in Tokyo, and several hotel investments.

The stock, however, was finding buyers in afternoon action, rising 2.3% to $31.18 on volume of 15 million. While strong results from

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

were lifting the bank sector as a whole, it's also fair to say investors appear to be taking the fund's loss in stride.

The

WSJ

report stated prominently on the front page of its "Money and Investing" section that the losses "continue to be a distraction" for Morgan Stanley but the more important detail, as far as investors are concerned, was buried toward the end of the story on page 8. "By mid-2009, Morgan Stanley had fully written down its exposure to reflect deep losses in the fund," the article states, citing a person familiar with the matter.

For what it's worth, I also spoke to a "person familiar with the matter," who told me that the investments were written down by the

end

of 2009. Either way, it's ancient history as far as investors are concerned.

Morgan Stanley is set to report its fourth-quarter numbers next week. As is nearly always the case when securities firms like Morgan Stanley and

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

report their results,

the big X-factor will be trading.

--

Written by Dan Freed in New York

.