Stock Traders Prove Winners as Wall Street Awaits Morgan Stanley

(Bloomberg) -- With five banks down and one to go, all eyes are on stock trading.

Bouts of volatility in the first few months of the year propelled gains for equities-trading desks across Wall Street, with Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. all reporting increases in that business. Analysts are expecting that trend to continue with Morgan Stanley, which is scheduled to report first-quarter results Wednesday.

The only winner on the fixed-income trading side so far? Goldman Sachs. The New York-based bank overcame a rough 2017 to post a 23 percent revenue increase in that business. Bank of America and Citigroup faced declining revenue, while JPMorgan was flat excluding some one-time gains. Seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting Morgan Stanley to report a 4.8 percent decline in credit trading.

The first three months of 2018 were rough for equity markets. The S&P 500 Index posted its first quarterly decline after nine straight periods of gains. Still, banks’ wealth- and asset-management units weren’t too fazed. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan all reported increases in revenue figures for those businesses, while Wells Fargo’s dropped just 0.4 percent.

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