Morgan Stanley (MS) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

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

According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the industry over the last six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s third-quarter 2017 results benefited from improvement in investment banking and stable equity trading income while slump in fixed income trading, fall in net interest income and higher in operating expenses were the headwinds. The company’s efforts to lower balance sheet risk and strengthen wealth management operations along with its cost saving initiatives (Project Streamline) should further support profitability. However, continued fall in net interest income and overall trading woes are expected to hurt the company’s bottom-line growth in the near term.”

MS has been the topic of several other reports. Credit Suisse Group upgraded shares of Morgan Stanley from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $49.00 to $54.00 in a research report on Monday, October 9th. ValuEngine cut shares of Morgan Stanley from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Wells Fargo & Company started coverage on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $48.00 price target on the stock. Buckingham Research boosted their price target on shares of Morgan Stanley from $54.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Finally, Barclays PLC boosted their price objective on Morgan Stanley from $48.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, seventeen have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $50.39.

Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) traded down 0.690% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $49.655. 4,867,511 shares of the company were exchanged. Morgan Stanley has a 52-week low of $32.56 and a 52-week high of $51.52. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $48.85 and its 200-day moving average is $45.73. The company has a market capitalization of $89.97 billion, a PE ratio of 13.789 and a beta of 1.61.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 17th. The financial services provider reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.12. Morgan Stanley had a net margin of 16.76% and a return on equity of 10.11%. The firm had revenue of $9.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.05 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.80 earnings per share. Morgan Stanley’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Morgan Stanley will post $3.57 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, insider Jeffrey S. Brodsky sold 16,397 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.07, for a total value of $820,997.79. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 111,776 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,596,624.32. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, President Thomas Colm Kelleher sold 40,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.59, for a total value of $2,023,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the president now directly owns 692,037 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $35,010,151.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.24% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MS. Investec Asset Management LTD boosted its position in Morgan Stanley by 0.9% during the first quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 4,062,955 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $174,057,000 after purchasing an additional 36,038 shares during the period. Investec Asset Management PTY Ltd bought a new stake in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth approximately $756,000. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its position in Morgan Stanley by 1.6% during the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 6,479,210 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $277,562,000 after purchasing an additional 102,272 shares during the period. Rothschild Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth approximately $26,920,000. Finally, Ngam Advisors L.P. boosted its position in Morgan Stanley by 12.9% during the first quarter. Ngam Advisors L.P. now owns 380,253 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $16,290,000 after purchasing an additional 43,471 shares during the period. 85.09% of the stock is 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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