Morgan Stanley Recovery Driven by Slow, Steady Days of Trading

Pedestrians walk past Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York/

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Morgan Stanley’s traders were not too hot, not too cold.

The bank posted trading revenues of more than $100 million on just one day of trading in 2017, the lowest number of sessions in at least a decade, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday and data compiled by Bloomberg. But it also had the fewest days of trading losses since before the financial crisis.

Chief Executive Officer James Gorman’s firm gained market share last year as it posted the smallest drop in revenue across Wall Street. Morgan Stanley topped Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in debt trading during the first half of the year, while the equities unit increased its annual lead over that rival.

“Much of 2017 was characterized by persistently low volatility across both rates and equities,” Gorman said in a January conference call. “Despite these trading conditions, we were able to gain wallet share and capitalize on pockets of opportunity as they presented themselves.”

For Goldman, big trading days were the lowest since 2004, but it also suffered 31 days of losses.

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