Lauren's Feed
Apr 18, 2014

For Morgan Stanley, playing it safe pays off

By Lauren Tara LaCapra

(Reuters) – A year ago, soon after Morgan Stanley posted disappointing quarterly earnings, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Gorman told board members the bank was on the right track and investors who sold shares had made a mistake.

On Thursday, Gorman proved himself right, by showing that his plan to lighten up trading risk and focus on wealth management is paying off. Morgan Stanley posted a 55 percent gain in first-quarter profit. The bank’s revenue from fixed-income trading rose 9 percent from the same quarter a year ago, even as it reduced risky assets by tens of billions of dollars. Morgan Stanley also showed steady progress in using deposits from the wealth business to lend more.

Apr 17, 2014

Amid frigid winter, Goldman, Morgan Stanley see commodity gains

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) both cited stronger commodities trading as a bright spot in the first quarter, aided in part by extraordinary volatility caused by the coldest U.S. winter in three decades.

The two longest-serving banks in the sector took on more risk in the quarter, and may be benefiting from rivals scaling back or quitting the raw materials trading business due to new capital and trading regulations and slimming profit margins, underscoring the benefits of sticking out a tough patch.

Apr 17, 2014

For Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, boring is beautiful

By Lauren Tara LaCapra

(Reuters) – Investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, helped by gains in merger advisory and stock underwriting.

The results underscored how businesses viewed as stodgy before the financial crisis are becoming critical drivers of earnings growth for investment banks now. Goldman’s fixed-income trading revenue plunged during the first quarter, both for trades it did for customers and investments on its own account.

Apr 17, 2014

Morgan Stanley profit soars on wealth management, trading

By Lauren Tara LaCapra and Anil D’Silva

(Reuters) – Morgan Stanley reported a 55 percent jump in first-quarter earnings as higher revenue from its institutional securities business augmented another strong quarter from wealth management, sending shares in the Wall Street bank higher.

The sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets reported net income applicable to the company of $1.45 billion, or 74 cents per share, compared with $936 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

Apr 17, 2014

Goldman Sachs profit falls 11 pct but beats estimates

April 17 (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported
an 11 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday as client
activity remained constrained and fixed-income revenue shrank.

The Wall Street bank said its net income fell to $1.95
billion, or $4.02 per share, in the first three months of the
year from $2.19 billion, or $4.29 per share, in the same period
of 2013.

Apr 14, 2014

Goldman dodges a shareholder battle that dogs rivals

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Goldman Sachs Group Inc filed its shareholder proxy earlier this month, it was free of a proposal that has become increasingly popular among corporate governance activists: a demand for more disclosure about lobbying.

Goldman’s big Wall Street rivals can’t say the same. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley all face lobbying-disclosure proposals this year. Some activist shareholders want the banks to be more transparent about their lobbying objectives, disclose more about the trade groups they belong to and say how much money they spend to influence policy.

Apr 10, 2014

Fed’s hard line on funding to bring more pain to Wall Street

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve’s drive to wean Wall Street off risky funding sources is expected to bring more financial pain to the biggest U.S. banks in the coming months, analysts warned on Wednesday.

They said bank regulators’ release this week of tough new limits on debt funding is just a preview of other rules that may have even more bite.

Apr 9, 2014

Non-banks notch a win in long-running derivatives battle

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A group of small brokerages and large commodities companies convinced lawmakers to tweak a rule that they say would have made derivatives trading more expensive for them and sent more business to Wall Street banks that already dominate the market.

Companies including INTL FCStone Inc, Nomura Holdings Inc, Cargill Inc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc lobbied a congressional committee to change a rule proposed by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission on how much capital they must hold against derivatives trades as dealers. Cargill and Shell have derivatives trading arms.

Apr 4, 2014

Goldman board lifts target for Blankfein to redeem future awards

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s board lifted a key performance target that the bank must reach for Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein to redeem a new long-term incentive stock award, according to a proxy filing on Friday.

In addition to his $23 million compensation package for 2013, the board offered Blankfein the potential to receive restricted stock worth $6 million at the time of the award.

Apr 3, 2014

Morgan Stanley CFO says companies need more female executives

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat on Wednesday called on government and corporate leaders to encourage the promotion of women into senior business roles, saying the number of women in top positions at U.S. corporations is “an embarrassment.”

Porat, one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, said she supports a law proposed by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that would create national paid family leave, and help women to have children without leaving the workforce. She also encouraged businesses to implement protocols that ensure more women are promoted to senior ranks or given positions on boards of directors.