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Morgan Stanley climbs after swinging to a profit


February 20. 2013 2:39AM
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(AP) Investment bank Morgan Stanley says it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter. Shares jumped in pre-market trading.


The bank earned $867 million after stripping out an accounting charge. That's up from a loss of $374 million in the same period a year ago.


On a per-share basis, those earnings amounted to 45 cents per share, versus a loss of 20 cents per share a year ago. Revenue jumped 37 percent, to $7.5 million from $5.5 million.


Business jumped across the bank. The investment bank underwrote more stock and bond offerings and brought in more fees from advising companies on mergers and other strategy. Financial advisers in the wealth management unit, which works with individuals, generated more revenue per worker.


The stock climbed $1.45 to $22.20 before the market opened, a gain of 7 percent.


The gains belied pressure that is on the bank. Like many of its counterparts, Morgan Stanley has been cutting jobs and other expenses. Over the year, it shed nearly 4,500 jobs, or 7 percent of its workforce. It plans to cut another 1,300 jobs, with cuts focused on the investment bank and senior-ranking employees.


Morgan Stanley has also been shaking up how it pays its bankers, a topic that has become a flashpoint in the financial crisis and its aftermath. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the bank plans to change how bonuses are paid to higher-paid bankers.


Bonuses, which are usually awarded in the first couple months of the year, will be paid in four installments spread over almost three years, instead of one lump sum, the Journal reported. The strategy is one that shareholder activists applaud, saying it encourages bankers not to take unreasonable risks.


Associated Press


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