Goldman Sachs’ net earnings fell to $2.03bn from $2.26bn after a drop in revenues from its bonds, currency and trading business.
However, Morgan Stanley’s profit rose to $1.45bn, compared with $981m a year ago.
Revenues rose in all of its three business segments.
Goldman Sachs makes most of its money from trading and investing in capital markets.
In the first quarter, its revenue from fixed income, currency and commodities trading fell 11% to $2.85bn compared with a year earlier.
“We are generally pleased with our performance for the quarter, given the operating environment,” said the bank’s chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein.
“Market sentiment shifted throughout the quarter, constraining client activity in various parts of our franchise,” he said.
Investment banking and investment management “generated solid results”, he added.
The bank’s net revenues from investment banking were $1.78bn, 13% higher than the first quarter of 2013.
Its financial advisory service saw 41% higher net revenues, of $682m.
Goldman’s results follow a big drop in profits in the fourth quarter last year.
Morgan Stanley’s trading, mergers and acquisition advisory and stock sales division grew the most during the first quarter.
The division, called institutional securities, earned $1.2bn, compared with $1.1bn last year,
Earnings for its wealth management division were $691m, compared with $597m a year ago, and investment management income jumped to $263m from $187m.
The bank’s strong results come after a fourth-quarter reduction in bond trading revenue that more than halved its earnings.