Financial Winners, Losers: Morgan Stanley

(Morgan Stanley, financial winners and losers story updated for Wednesday close)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The biggest event in the financial headlines on Wednesday was President Obama signing into law the financial regulation reform package, not affectionately known on Wall Street as FinReg.

Wednesday was a noisy day for the financial sector, with a string of U.S. bank earnings providing details on the earnings outlook and recovery in consumer and business loan units, and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke spooking the markets late in the afternoon trading with his Capitol Hill comments.

It was fitting that Wednesday was not a big day for the Wall Street firms as President Obama made FinReg law. However, there was one big winner on Wall Street on Wednesday, Morgan Stanley ( MS), whose shares were buoyed by strong earnings, outperforming not just Street expectations by a wide margins but earnings recently reported by some peers in the financial sector.

Morgan Stanley was far and away the winner among earnings rally stocks, though its gains were muted in the afternoon after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent the markets into a tailspin. Bernanke referred to the economic situation as "unusually uncertain."

Morgan Stanley, which had been up more than 9% on Wednesday, finished the day with a gain of 6.2%. Morgan Stanley attracted a lot of buying action -- with 62 million shares traded on Wednesday, versus an average daily volume of 16 million shares. Morgan Stanley shares gained $1.58 to a closing price of $26.80 on Wednesday.

Morgan Stanley reported earnings of $1.09 a share, roughly twice the Street consensus, and Morgan Stanley revenue doubled from the year-ago period.

Wells Fargo ( WFC) earnings per share beat, but revenue was short of expectations, and its non-performing loans ticked up in the most recent quarter. However, continued improvement by Wells Fargo in the most recent quarter lowering loan charge-offs and increasing corporate debt business were trends met with approval by investors.

In the all-important earnings numbers, Wells Fargo reported second-quarter earnings of 55 cents per share, compared to 57 cents per share in the previous year, and comfortably ahead of a 48 cent Street consensus.

Wells Fargo also saw a big spike in trading, with 70 million shares traded on Wednesday, versus an average daily volume of 40 million shares.

Wells Fargo, which has been up as much as 3% in the morning, finished Wednesday with a gain of 0.6%, or 15 cents, to $26.06.

Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley bucked the trend of weak earnings reports from investment banks relying on trading profits and suffering as a result in the second quarter, and were joined on Wednesday by U.S. Bancorp ( USB), which got a boost from rising consumer loan demand in its earnings report. Comerica ( CMA) also beat the Street on declining credit losses in the most recent quarter.

Yet the reporting U.S. banks on Wednesday couldn't make headway with investors, with US Bancorp ending the day down, albeit only a loss of 0.3%, and Comerica losing 1.6% on Wednesday.

Among the biggest Wall Street firms on the day that President Obama put his signature on the FinReg reform package, it was a weak day on Wednesday.

Goldman Sachs ( GS) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) were both down on Wednesday. JPMorgan daily losses increased to 3% by the close, or a loss of $1.21, to a share price of $38.42. What had been a flat day in trading for Goldman ended with a 1.9% loss after the Fed chairman's comments. Goldman fell $1.92 to a share price of $146.99.

Bank of America ended down 3% on Wednesday, or a decline of 41 cents to $13.36, and also saw its losses accelerate late in the session.

Citigroup ( C), which had been gaining early in the afternoon, ended the day's trading down 1.2%, or 5 cents, to $3.94.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

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