Morgan Stanley trading-loss frequency rose in second quarter

Mon Aug 6, 2012 7:26pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley MS.N lost money more frequently in trading during the second quarter than it did in the previous or year-ago periods.

The investment bank lost money in 15 of the 64 trading days for the quarter ended June 30, or 23 percent of the time, according to a 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That compares with four days of losses, or 6 percent of the trading days, in the March 31 quarter, and eight days of losses, or 13 percent of the trading days for the year-ago period.

The bank's sales and trading net revenue fell 35 percent to $2.25 billion in the second quarter from $3.44 billion in the year-ago period.

Morgan Stanley also said its net exposure to five troubled euro zone nations spiked 73 percent in the second quarter, reiterating an earlier disclosure on July 19.

Morgan Stanley increased its holdings of stocks, bonds and derivatives backed by banks, governments and other counterparties in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, while also reducing hedges against the risk that those exposures might turn into losses.

Meanwhile, the investment bank significantly reduced its exposure to France by building up a large short position against the country's sovereign debt.

Morgan Stanley's shift in exposures is notable because the bank's stock and bond prices came under pressure last fall over concerns about its exposure to Europe, particularly France.

The bank began disclosing its exposure to euro zone countries in October in response to the market reaction, and its ongoing disclosure of French exposure is unusual: Even Jefferies Group Inc JEF.N, which cut its European assets by 75 percent in a matter of days last fall in response to market pressures, did not feel compelled to include France among the countries whose stocks and bond exposures it detailed.   Continued...