Morgan Stanley posted a net loss of $578 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with a $1.4 billion profit in the first quarter of last year. Revenue came in at $3 billion, a 62% decline from a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters estimated the investment bank would post $4.9 billion in revenue and a loss of 9 cents a share.
“People had expected the credit desk trading profits to be a pleasant surprise, and I think they were OK, but they were just overwhelmed by the negative surprises in the write-downs,” Michael Holland, founder of New York money management firm Holland & Co., told Reuters.
Real estate accounted for $1 billion of Morgan’s net losses, and a $1.5 billion more was tied to changes in the value of the bank’s liabilities.
The carnage caused Morgan to slash its quarterly dividend 81% to 5 cents a share, a move the company said will save it $1 billion a year.
Chief Executive John Mack said last month in a conference that he didn’t think now is the time to begin paying back the $10 billion it borrowed from the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).