Morgan Stanley's CEO says a global recession due to coronavirus could last through 2021

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman

A coronavirus-induced recession could last through 2021, according to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman.

"I would say through the end of next year, we're going to be working through the global recession," Gorman told CNBC in a Thursday interview.
While he wishes and hopes for a V-shaped recovery, he does not expect one, he said. "You can't have this kind of dislocation and expect people to bounce immediately," he said. "This is not going to turn on a dime."

The best-case scenario is for a U-shaped recovery, Gorman said. "If I were a betting man, it's somewhere between a `U' or 'L'" shaped recovery," he said. It's likely that the process of reopening the economy will take months, according to Gorman.

The interview and Gorman's comments followed Morgan Stanley's first quarter earnings release early Thursday. Earnings for the bank dropped, but trading revenue was strong in the quarter.

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"We have witnessed more market volatility, uncertainty and anxiety as a result of the devastating COVID-19 than at any time since the financial crisis," Gorman said Thursday in the statement. "While it's too early to predict how this will unfold, Morgan Stanley navigated the quarter well given the conditions, and our results bear testament to the strength of our balanced business model." Morgan Stanley was the last of the big banks to report its quarterly results. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo also reported lower profits amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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