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

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates have been stable lately ahead of Morgan Stanley's third-quarter 2016 results. Further, the company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. The company’s efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance-sheet risks, control expenses and shift focus towards less capital-incentive businesses are commendable. In addition, the company has significantly diversified its footprints and product portfolio. However, equity trading income distress may continue owing to macroeconomic headwinds and lower level of client activity. Further, concerns related to new regulatory requirements and intense pricing competition make us apprehensive. Moreover, increased dependence on structured investment vehicles and commercial mortgage-backed securities may lead to future write-downs if the economy deteriorates.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Barclays PLC reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research note on Saturday, July 9th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research note on Sunday, June 26th. Vetr raised shares of Morgan Stanley from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $26.38 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, July 13th. RBC Capital Markets set a $32.00 price objective on shares of Morgan Stanley and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 21st. Finally, Berenberg Bank assumed coverage on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research note on Wednesday, July 13th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $29.00 price objective for the company. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $32.41.

Analyst Recommendations for Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) traded down 0.74% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $32.32. 5,731,208 shares of the company traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $61.79 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.95 and a beta of 2.09. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $31.55 and a 200 day moving average of $27.92. Morgan Stanley has a one year low of $21.16 and a one year high of $35.74.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The financial services provider reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.16. The company earned $8.91 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.30 billion. Morgan Stanley had a net margin of 13.27% and a return on equity of 6.41%. Morgan Stanley’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.79 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Morgan Stanley will post $2.51 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, major shareholder Stanley Morgan sold 357 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $23,750.00, for a total value of $8,478,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Donald T. Nicolaisen sold 3,302 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.88, for a total transaction of $92,059.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 91,704 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,556,707.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. FineMark National Bank & Trust boosted its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 2.0% in the second quarter. FineMark National Bank & Trust now owns 4,332 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $113,000 after buying an additional 84 shares during the period. Assetmark Inc. boosted its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 291.1% in the second quarter. Assetmark Inc. now owns 5,323 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $138,000 after buying an additional 3,962 shares during the period. Synovus Financial Corp boosted its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 11.3% in the second quarter. Synovus Financial Corp now owns 5,418 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $141,000 after buying an additional 549 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 100.0% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 6,200 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $161,000 after buying an additional 3,100 shares during the period. Finally, Handelsbanken Fonder AB acquired a new position in shares of Morgan Stanley during the second quarter valued at $205,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.64% of the company’s stock.

Morgan Stanley Company Profile

Morgan Stanley is a financial holding company. The Company is a global financial services firm that, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, advises, and originates, trades, manages and distributes capital for, governments, institutions and individuals. Its segments include Institutional Securities, Wealth Management and Investment Management.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MS

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