Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday morning. The firm currently has $59.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the industry over the last twelve 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 efforts to lower balance sheet risk and strengthen wealth management operations along with its cost saving initiatives (Project Streamline) should continue to support profitability. Given a solid capital position, it should enhance shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities. 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. Buckingham Research increased their price objective on Morgan Stanley from $54.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Oppenheimer reiterated a hold rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a top pick rating and set a $69.00 price objective on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Compass Point reiterated a sell rating and set a $38.00 price objective (up from $34.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Monday, September 25th. Finally, upgraded Morgan Stanley from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $53.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday, September 15th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, seventeen have issued a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $50.52.

Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) traded down $0.12 during trading on Monday, hitting $52.77. The stock had a trading volume of 6,316,900 shares, compared to its average volume of 9,366,125. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.68, a current ratio of 0.74 and a quick ratio of 0.74. The company has a market cap of $95,619.78, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.65, a PEG ratio of 1.24 and a beta of 1.64. Morgan Stanley has a 12-month low of $40.06 and a 12-month high of $53.37.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 17th. The financial services provider reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.12. The firm had revenue of $9.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.05 billion. Morgan Stanley had a return on equity of 10.07% and a net margin of 16.76%. The company’s revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.80 EPS. analysts expect that Morgan Stanley will post 3.57 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 31st were issued a $0.25 dividend. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.90%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, October 30th. Morgan Stanley’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 27.70%.

In other news, President Thomas Colm Kelleher sold 40,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.59, for a total value of $2,023,600.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the president now owns 692,037 shares in the company, valued at approximately $35,010,151.83. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Alistair Darling sold 3,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.29, for a total value of $189,766.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 14,218 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $700,805.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 85,247 shares of company stock valued at $4,284,364. Company insiders own 0.24% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. DSAM Partners London Ltd bought a new position in Morgan Stanley during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $5,273,000. Davidson & Garrard Inc. increased its position in Morgan Stanley by 2.2% during the 2nd quarter. Davidson & Garrard Inc. now owns 5,525 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $246,000 after buying an additional 120 shares in the last quarter. Calamos Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Morgan Stanley during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $1,412,000. BB&T Corp increased its position in Morgan Stanley by 9.7% during the 3rd quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 171,122 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $8,243,000 after buying an additional 15,162 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CAPROCK Group Inc. bought a new position in Morgan Stanley during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $220,000. Institutional investors own 85.60% of the company’s stock.

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Morgan Stanley Company Profile

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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