OPPENHEIMER EQUITIES ANALYSTS LIFT EARNINGS ESTIMATES FOR MORGAN STANLEY (MS)

OPPENHEIMER EQUITIES ANALYSTS LIFT EARNINGS ESTIMATES FOR MORGAN STANLEY (MS)

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) – Investment analysts at Oppenheimer lifted their Q4 2018 earnings estimates for shares of Morgan Stanley in a report issued on Tuesday, October 16th. Oppenheimer analyst C. Kotowski now expects that the financial services provider will post earnings per share of $1.04 for the quarter, up from their prior forecast of $0.98. Oppenheimer has a “Outperform” rating and a $62.00 price objective on the stock. Oppenheimer also issued estimates for Morgan Stanley’s Q1 2019 earnings at $1.47 EPS, Q2 2019 earnings at $1.33 EPS and Q4 2019 earnings at $1.11 EPS.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 16th. The financial services provider reported $1.17 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.16. Morgan Stanley had a return on equity of 12.53% and a net margin of 15.93%. The firm had revenue of $9.87 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.55 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.93 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 7.3% on a year-over-year basis.

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on MS. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Morgan Stanley from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $56.00 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, July 24th. Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded Morgan Stanley from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $51.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, July 18th. ValuEngine upgraded Morgan Stanley from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 19th. Societe Generale restated a “$49.85” rating and issued a $56.00 price target on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research note on Thursday, July 19th. Finally, Citigroup decreased their price target on Morgan Stanley from $58.00 to $56.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, July 20th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. Morgan Stanley has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $58.53.

MS stock opened at $46.42 on Thursday. Morgan Stanley has a 1-year low of $42.88 and a 1-year high of $59.38. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.67, a current ratio of 0.83 and a quick ratio of 0.83. The firm has a market capitalization of $82.34 billion, a PE ratio of 12.91, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.87 and a beta of 1.42.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Baird Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in Morgan Stanley by 19.8% during the first quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 11,080 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $598,000 after purchasing an additional 1,831 shares during the period. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC grew its holdings in Morgan Stanley by 20.3% during the first quarter. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC now owns 47,733 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,576,000 after purchasing an additional 8,050 shares during the period. LPL Financial LLC grew its holdings in Morgan Stanley by 47.8% during the first quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 214,730 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $11,587,000 after purchasing an additional 69,406 shares during the period. Verition Fund Management LLC bought a new stake in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter valued at about $871,000. Finally, Rainier Group Investment Advisory LLC bought a new stake in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter valued at about $119,000. 84.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In related news, major shareholder Stanley Morgan sold 327 shares of Morgan Stanley stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23,000.00, for a total value of $7,521,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Morgan Stanley announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, June 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $4.70 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to buy up to 5.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, November 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, October 31st will be issued a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.59%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 30th. Morgan Stanley’s payout ratio is currently 33.33%.

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