Morgan Stanley's chief executive, James P. Gorman, warned Wednesday that earnings could be choppy over the next few quarters because of continued market volatility, but said he expects retail investors will eventually rush back into the market.

Gorman, speaking to analysts after Morgan Stanley reported second-quarter results, said earnings going forward will be tough to forecast because conditions remain muted.

However, Gorman said he feels the company's Morgan Stanley Smith Barney joint venture will be ready to benefit once the market does rebound.

"You can't control the markets, and we're focused on making sure that we get the steps in the integration done, that the sales force remains stable and that the clients see a continuous improvement in the quality of service," he said. "We wish the world were better, but the retail investors won't disappear forever."

Within Morgan Stanley's wealth management business, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said the volatile stock market and lack of conviction among retail investors means some of the targets it issued for the joint venture "will get pushed out."

Morgan Stanley's resurgent sales and trading operations boosted second-quarter profit as the investment bank continued to build up a business that has lagged behind rivals since the financial crisis.

It reported a profit of $1.96 billion, or $1.09 a share, up from $149 million a year earlier.

Wall Street analysts had most recently forecast earnings of 46 cents a share on $7.93 billion of revenue.

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