Earnings of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) rose sharply in the fourth quarter and exceeded the market’s forecast, helped by a double-digit increase in revenues. The company’s stock gained during Thursday’s premarket trading session, soon after the announcement.
Fourth-quarter earnings, on an adjusted basis, moved up to $1.20 per share from $0.73 per share in the corresponding period of last year and exceeded analysts’ forecast. Net income, on a reported basis, was $2.24 billion or $1.30 per share, compared to $1.53 billion or $0.80 per share last year.
At $45.82, book value per share was up 9% year-over-year, while return on equity moved up to 11.3% from 7.7% last year.
Driving the bottom-line growth, net revenues climbed 27% to $10.86 billion from $8.55 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Analysts had forecast a slower growth.
Revenues at the Institutional Securities segment surged 32% to $5.1 billion, aided by an 11% growth in investment banking revenues. Wealth management revenues moved up 11% year-on-year to $4.58 billion, while Investment Management revenues nearly doubled to $1.36 billion.
“We delivered strong quarterly earnings across all of our businesses. Firmwide revenues were over $10 billion for the fourth consecutive quarter, resulting in record full-year revenues and net income. This consistent performance met all of our stated performance targets,” said CEO James Gorman.
The bank repurchased $1.5 billion of its stock during the quarter. Also, the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.35 per share, payable on February 14, 2020, to common shareholders of record on January 31, 2020.
Earlier this week, Citigroup (C) reported stronger-than-expected earnings and revenues for the most recent quarter, supported by solid performance by both the segments – Institutional Clients Group and Global Consumer Banking. JPMorgan (JPM) recorded a double-digit increase in fourth-quarter earnings, reflecting strong growth across the key business segments, despite a decline in interest income.
Shares of Morgan Stanley gained 21% in the past 12 months and 3% since the beginning of the year. They moved up about 2% early Thursday, following the earnings report. Analysts’ average price target on the stock is $57.29.
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