The bank posted net earnings of $1.43 billion for the third quarter.
A Thomson Reuters poll of analysts had forecast profits of just $869 million.
Along with Goldman Sachs, Morgan is one of only two of the "big five" US investment banks to have survived the credit crunch.
Bear Stearns collapsed in March and was taken over by JPMorgan in a government-brokered deal.
Then, late last week, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch merged with Bank of America in a merger worth $50 billion.
Morgan announced its results a day early, in a bid to counteract the huge falls that had been registered on the exchanges in the wake of the bank closures.
Colm Kelleher, Morgan Stanley's chief financial officer, said: "It is very important to get some sanity back into the market."