Morgan Stanley (MS) – Research Analysts’ Recent Ratings Updates

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) has recently received a number of price target changes and ratings updates:

  • 8/9/2017 – Morgan Stanley is now covered by analysts at Wells Fargo & Company. They set a “market perform” rating and a $48.00 price target on the stock.
  • 7/24/2017 – Morgan Stanley was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have significantly outperformed the industry, over the last six months. The company’s second-quarter 2017 earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, mainly driven by improved equity trading and a rise in underwriting income. The company’s efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk and cost saving efforts will likely lead to improvement in profitability. These initiatives, along with enhanced capital deployment should boost investors’ confidence in the stock.  However, continued fall in corporate loan balances remains a concern for the company. This is most likely the primary reason for decrease in net interest income despite rise in interest rates.”
  • 7/22/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its “neutral” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Credit Suisse Group. They now have a $49.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $47.00.
  • 7/22/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its “outperform” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Macquarie. They now have a $52.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $51.00.
  • 7/20/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its price target raised by analysts at BMO Capital Markets from $58.00 to $61.00. They now have an “outperform” rating on the stock.
  • 7/20/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its price target raised by analysts at Bank of America Corporation from $50.00 to $51.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 7/11/2017 – Morgan Stanley was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating. According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Investment Broker industry, over the last six months. However, the company’s higher dependence on trading revenues remains a major concern. Trading revenues are anticipated to be weak in the coming quarter due to lower client activity and this could hurt the company’s top line growth in the near-term. Nevertheless, the company’s efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk should lead to improvement in profitability.”
  • 7/10/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Buckingham Research. They now have a $54.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $51.00.
  • 7/3/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Deutsche Bank AG.
  • 6/26/2017 – Morgan Stanley had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at J P Morgan Chase & Co. They now have a $53.00 price target on the stock.
  • 6/13/2017 – Morgan Stanley was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $50.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Investment Broker industry, over the last six months. The company remains on track to achieve its expense saving target of $1 billion by the end of this year. Moreover, the company's efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk should lead to improvement in profitability. Also, with the passage of the Financial Choice Act, the company is likely to increase lending activities, thus leading to further improvement in bottom-line. However, higher dependence on trading revenues remains a major concern, which could hurt its top line growth in the near-term.”
  • 6/12/2017 – Morgan Stanley was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Investment Broker industry, over the last six months. The company remains on track to achieve its expense saving target of $1 billion by the end of this year. Moreover, the company's efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk should lead to improvement in profitability. Also, with the passage of the Financial Choice Act, the company is likely to increase lending activities, thus leading to further improvement in bottom-line. However, higher dependence on trading revenues remains a major concern, which could hurt its top line growth in the near-term.”

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) traded down 2.83% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $46.30. The company had a trading volume of 10,099,443 shares. The stock has a market cap of $85.03 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.26 and a beta of 1.63. The company’s 50 day moving average is $46.07 and its 200 day moving average is $44.35. Morgan Stanley has a 12-month low of $28.86 and a 12-month high of $48.90. Morgan Stanley also was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Traders bought 6,765 call options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 381% compared to the average volume of 1,407 call options.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.87 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.11. Morgan Stanley had a net margin of 16.77% and a return on equity of 9.83%. The business had revenue of $9.50 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.05 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.75 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Morgan Stanley will post $3.50 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Investors of record on Monday, July 31st will be paid a dividend of $0.25 per share. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.16%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 27th. This is a positive change from Morgan Stanley’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. Morgan Stanley’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 28.65%.

In related news, Chairman James P. Gorman sold 212,366 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 transaction, the chairman now owns 1,602,609 shares in the company, valued at $75,739,301.34. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Jonathan Pruzan sold 25,767 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.68, for a total transaction of $1,202,803.56. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 196,708 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,182,329.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.35% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

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.

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