ValuEngine cut shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday.

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on MS. Wells Fargo & Company began coverage on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. They set a market perform rating and a $48.00 target price on the stock. HSBC Holdings plc set a $54.00 target price on shares of Morgan Stanley and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Morgan Stanley from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. J P Morgan Chase & Co restated a buy rating and set a $53.00 target price on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Monday, June 26th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada restated a buy rating and set a $50.00 target price on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Morgan Stanley currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $48.57.

Morgan Stanley (MS) opened at 46.19 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $84.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.23 and a beta of 1.63. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $46.36 and its 200 day moving average is $44.59. Morgan Stanley has a 12-month low of $30.62 and a 12-month high of $48.90. Morgan Stanley also was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Stock traders acquired 6,765 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 381% compared to the average volume of 1,407 call options.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the 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 analysts’ expectations of $9.05 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.75 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Morgan Stanley will post $3.50 earnings per share for the current year.

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Morgan Stanley declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Wednesday, June 28th that allows the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the financial services provider to reacquire up to 6.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Shareholders of record on Monday, July 31st were given a $0.25 dividend. This is a positive change from Morgan Stanley’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 27th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.16%. Morgan Stanley’s payout ratio is 28.65%.

In other news, CFO Jonathan Pruzan sold 25,767 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated 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 completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 196,708 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,182,329.44. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman James P. Gorman sold 212,366 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated 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 sale, the chairman now directly owns 1,602,609 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $75,739,301.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.24% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust increased its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 9.1% during the 2nd quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 2,275 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $101,000 after purchasing an additional 190 shares during the last quarter. V Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Morgan Stanley during the 2nd quarter valued at about $106,000. Omnia Family Wealth LLC increased its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 5.8% during the 2nd quarter. Omnia Family Wealth LLC now owns 2,429 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 134 shares during the last quarter. Invictus RG purchased a new stake in shares of Morgan Stanley during the 1st quarter valued at about $106,000. Finally, FTB Advisors Inc. increased its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 8.1% during the 1st quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 2,605 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $112,000 after purchasing an additional 196 shares during the last quarter. 85.20% 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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)

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