Morgan Stanley (MS) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have significantly outperformed the industry, over the last six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk and cost saving initiatives (Project Stremline) will likely lead to improvement in profitability. However, continued fall in corporate loan balances remains a near-term concern. This is significantly hurting the company's interest income growth.”

Several other equities analysts have also commented on MS. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on shares of Morgan Stanley from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 20th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Morgan Stanley from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Instinet reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 price target (down previously from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Saturday, June 3rd. Buckingham Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $54.00 price target (up previously from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Monday, July 10th. Finally, Macquarie reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $52.00 price target (up previously from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Saturday, July 22nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, seventeen have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Morgan Stanley has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $48.48.

Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) opened at 46.42 on Wednesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $46.10 and a 200 day moving average of $44.53. Morgan Stanley has a 1-year low of $30.62 and a 1-year high of $48.90. The stock has a market cap of $85.25 billion, a PE ratio of 13.30 and a beta of 1.63.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.76 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $9.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.05 billion. Morgan Stanley had a net margin of 16.77% and a return on equity of 9.83%. The company’s revenue was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.75 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Morgan Stanley will post $3.51 EPS for the current year.

Morgan Stanley announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the financial services provider to purchase up to 6.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, CFO Jonathan Pruzan sold 25,767 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.68, for a total value of $1,202,803.56. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 196,708 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,182,329.44. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman James P. Gorman sold 212,366 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.26, for a total transaction of $10,036,417.16. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 1,602,609 shares in the company, valued at $75,739,301.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Reinhart Partners Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth $408,000. Montag A & Associates Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Morgan Stanley by 37.2% during the first quarter. Montag A & Associates Inc. now owns 90,767 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,888,000 after purchasing an additional 24,629 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of Morgan Stanley by 23.0% during the first quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 633,352 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $27,133,000 after purchasing an additional 118,342 shares during the period. Flinton Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Morgan Stanley by 648.3% during the first quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 156,296 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $6,696,000 after purchasing an additional 135,408 shares during the period. Finally, FTB Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Morgan Stanley by 8.1% during the first quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 2,605 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $112,000 after purchasing an additional 196 shares during the period. 85.20% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is a financial holding company. The Company’s segments include Institutional Securities, Wealth Management and Investment Management. The Company’s Institutional Securities business segment provides investment banking, sales and trading, and other services to corporations, governments, financial institutions and high-to-ultra high net worth clients.

Analyst Recommendations for Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)

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