Despite posting reduced quarterly profits, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley beat expectations amid Wall Street's worst market conditions in decades. Goldman Sachs reported a 70% drop in third-quarter earnings. Morgan Stanley said its earnings slid only 3%, helped by one-time gains, record prime-brokerage fees, and solid results for commodity and equity trading. "Between Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, we are getting some modest positive news in what has been an otherwise dark five-day period," said Keith Wirtz, president and chief investment officer of Fifth Third Asset Management.

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