Morgan Stanley said Wednesday its second-quarter net income jumped to $1.58 billion, easily topping forecasts as its Smith Barney brokerage helped the bank recover from a loss a year ago.
Separately, US Bancorp's quarterly profit nearly quadrupled from last year, to $862 million, even as write-offs for bad loans increased slightly.
However, a third U.S. bank, Wells Fargo, reported lower second-quarter profit Wednesday, but also said losses on commercial and consumer loans declined from the first quarter.
Wells Fargo & Co, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, said mortgage hedging results were down.
Minneapolis-based US Bancorp said profit soared as new lending boosted revenue.
On Tuesday investment bank Goldman Sachs said its quarterly earnings tumbled 82 percent, steeper than analysts had forecast, as a trading and underwriting slump tempered profits and raised questions about whether the firm is losing its ability to outsmart the competition.
Profit at the bank, long famed for lavish pay and political influence, slumped to $453 million, hurt by $550 million for settling the fraud suit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and $600 million to compensate its City of London bankers for a special 2009 UK bonus tax.
U.S. banks, recovering from the financial crisis, are now grappling with a dip in consumer sentiment and worries about how their business will be affected by the financial reform bill due to be signed into law by President Barack Obama later on Wednesday.
"A number of provisions within this legislation will impact our company by either lowering revenue, increasing expense and/or raising capital requirements," US Bancorp Chief Executive Richard Davis said in a statement.
The banks are also struggling as consumer sentiment remains low and U.S. unemployment hovers around 10 percent.
Morgan Stanley joined other banks in reporting that its trading revenue fell from the first quarter, the result of the stock market's spring plunge. But the company, which was hurt a year ago by a conservative trading strategy, was able to beat analysts' overall revenue and profit expectations for this latest quarter.
Morgan Stanley's earnings available to common shareholders rose to $1.09 per share from a loss of $1.10 per share a year earlier, when it lost $1.26 billion.
Earnings from continuing operations, which excludes special one-time charges, was 80 cents per share. Revenue jumped 53 percent to $7.95 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings of 46 cents per share on revenue of $7.93 billion.
U.S. Bancorp said its profit was driven by a revenue that rose almost 9 percent compared with last year, and by lower credit costs.
Total net revenue was more than $4.5 billion, and the profit worked out to 45 cents per share. Both were higher than analysts had expected.
The bank charged off $1.11 billion in bad loans during the second quarter. That was 20 percent higher than the same period last year. U.S. Bancorp says the bad loans rose as the economy worsened, with weakness in both residential and commercial real estate. Still, U.S. Bancorp's loan portfolio has performed better than many competitors.
A smaller regional bank, Dallas-based Comerica Inc, also beat Wall Street earnings estimates Wednesday, helped by lower credit losses.
Comerica reported second-quarter net income attributable to common shares was $69 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with a loss of $16 million, or 11 cents a share, last year.