Investors sold shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) on strength during trading hours on Thursday. $52.90 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $83.06 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $30.16 million out of the stock. Of all equities tracked, Morgan Stanley had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Morgan Stanley traded up $0.37 for the day and closed at $48.26

A number of brokerages recently commented on MS. Zacks Investment Research lowered Morgan Stanley from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. ValuEngine lowered Morgan Stanley from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Instinet reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $50.00 price target (down previously from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research note on Saturday, June 3rd. J P Morgan Chase & Co reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research note on Monday, May 29th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company began coverage on Morgan Stanley in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $48.00 price target for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, seventeen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $48.11.

The company has a market capitalization of $88.56 billion, a PE ratio of 13.81 and a beta of 1.63. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $46.13 and its 200 day moving average is $44.52. Morgan Stanley also was the recipient of unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Stock investors acquired 12,195 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 129% compared to the typical volume of 5,327 put options.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.76 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $9.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.05 billion. Morgan Stanley had a return on equity of 9.83% and a net margin of 16.77%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.75 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Morgan Stanley will post $3.49 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Morgan Stanley announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program on Wednesday, June 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to repurchase up to 6.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, CFO Jonathan Pruzan sold 25,767 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 20th. The stock was 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 directly owns 196,708 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,182,329.44. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. 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 value of $10,036,417.16. Following the transaction, 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 large investors have recently made changes to their positions in MS. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Morgan Stanley by 2,798.9% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 101,168,197 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,334,046,000 after buying an additional 97,678,337 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its position in Morgan Stanley by 5,268.0% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 9,590,843 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $427,365,000 after buying an additional 9,412,177 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its position in Morgan Stanley by 16.9% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 46,221,986 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,980,150,000 after buying an additional 6,692,676 shares in the last quarter. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new position in Morgan Stanley during the 1st quarter valued at about $215,402,000. Finally, Lazard Asset Management LLC increased its position in Morgan Stanley by 801.0% during the 2nd quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 5,321,327 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $237,117,000 after buying an additional 4,730,704 shares in the last quarter. 85.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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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