Morgan Stanley Earnings Drop on Legal Charges

This morning, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS  ) reported earnings of $0.07 per share on revenues of $7.8 billion in the fourth quarter 2013, compared to earnings per share of $0.29 and revenues of $7.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The company noted that it faced legal expenses of $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter, which were equal to $0.40 per share. The addition to legal reserves was the result of litigation surrounding its mortgage-backed securities and other related operations during the financial crisis.

Excluding debt valuation adjustments (DVA), which attributes profits to banks when the value of their bonds fall, earnings in the fourth quarter stood at $0.20, as a result of the outsized legal expense, versus $0.49 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

"Our fourth quarter results demonstrated the consistency embedded in our business model, as revenues increased year-over-year in all three of our business segments," said Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman. "Importantly, we are continuing to address many of the legal issues from the financial crisis."

For the full year, excluding DVA, Morgan Stanley saw strong results from its wealth and investment management businesses, where net income grew to $2.6 billion and $1.0 billion from $1.6 billion and $590 million, respectively. However its institutional securities business saw its income fall from $2.7 billion to $1.7 billion as a result of higher legal expenses.

In total, after excluding DVA, Morgan Stanley's full-year 2013 revenue stood at $33.1 billion and had an income of $3.5 billion from continuing operations. This compares to revenues of $30.5 billion and income from continuing operations of $3.3 billion in 2012.

Gorman concluded by noting, "We look forward to further progress on our strategic goals as we move into 2014 with strength and momentum."

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