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Morgan Stanley’s quarterly profit rises as legal costs fall

Morgan StanleyMorgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley's New York HeadquatersPhotograph by Stan Honda—AFP/Getty Images

Morgan Stanley has reported a drop of 81% in revenue from trading fixed-income securities, currencies and commodities, although the bank’s earnings rose due to a sharp drop in legal costs.

Choppy markets caused by factors ranging from plunging oil prices to political upheaval in Greece, sent investors scurrying last month, slashing the trading revenue of U.S. banks, including Morgan Stanley (MS) arch rival Goldman Sachs (GS), Reuters reported.

Revenue from the bank’s increasingly important wealth management business rose 2.4% to $3.80 billion as equity markets boomed. Overall, earnings attributable to common shareholders rose to $920 million, or 47 cents per share, in the fourth quarter from $36 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier, the report said. Legal expenses fell to $284 million from $1.4 billion.