Financial titan Morgan Stanley returns to profitability

Morgan StanleyNEW YORK -Morgan Stanley (MS) has returned to profitability for the first time in a year on the strength of its investment banking operations.

Morgan Stanley has reported Wednesday that stock and debt underwriting by its investment banking division more than offset $400 million in losses from commercial real estate . It also cited growing profit from its retail brokerage business, which includes the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney joint venture it owns with Citigroup Inc.

The commercial real estate losses are a reminder that the broader economy continues to struggle even as financial companies profit from their investment banking and trading operations.

The New York-based bank says it earned $498 million, or 38 cents per share.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 27 cents per share.

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