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Morgan Stanley bounces back from legal charges last year, but misses 4Q expectations

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NEW YORK — Morgan Stanley's fourth-quarter profit rose as the investment bank recovered from huge legal expenses last year. But it suffered from the same trading slowdowns at other banks and fell short of Wall Street expectations.

The bank said Tuesday it earned $1.05 billion, or 47 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $95 million, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue totaled $7.76 billion, down from $7.84 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Like the other big Wall Street firms, Morgan Stanley had difficulties in its fixed income and commodities division. The bank reported adjusted net revenues of $599 million, down from $694 million a year earlier.

PHOTO: In this Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, file photo, people pass Morgan Stanley's headquarters in New York. Morgan Stanley reported, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, a bigger fourth-quarter profit as the investment bank recovers from huge legal expenses in 2014, but it fell short of Wall Street expectations and shares are sliding before the opening bell. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
In this Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, file photo, people pass Morgan Stanley's headquarters in New York. Morgan Stanley reported, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, a bigger fourth-quarter profit as the investment bank recovers from huge legal expenses in 2014, but it fell short of Wall Street expectations and shares are sliding before the opening bell. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Revenue from equity sales and trading, a key part of Morgan Stanley's business, increased modestly to $1.6 billion from $1.5 billion.

Wealth Management, which includes Morgan Stanley's Smith Barney franchise, reported a modest rise in profits as well. The division earned $736 million versus $715 million in the same period a year ago.

Results were affected by several one-time items and accounting adjustments. Adjusted for one-time items, the bank earned 39 cents a share, well short of the 56 cents that analysts expected, according to a poll by FactSet.

For 2014, Morgan Stanley earned $6.15 billion compared with $2.98 billion in 2013. Firm-wide sales and revenue reached $34.28 billion, up from $32.49 billion the prior year.

Morgan Stanley fell 61 cents, or 2 percent, to $34.28 in late morning trading.

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