Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) Announces Hiring Freeze

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) announced that it has halted hiring in its investment-banking group for the remainder of 2010, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

The report cited an anonymous source who said that the firm has so far ruled of any lay-offs through the end of the year. The source said that Morgan Stanley Smith Barney will continue to hire brokers, despite the freeze.

The hiring freezes comes as Wall Street banks have posted their lowest investment banking and trading revenue in two years, mostly the result of weak trading and equity underwriting volume. Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) is likely to fire as many 400 employees as a result of the weakness in the market, the report said. Two European companies, including Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) and Credit Suisse AG (NYSE: CS) have already started reducing their staff.

Several analysts have cut their earnings estimates for Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) during the last two weeks. Barclays Capital analyst Roger A. Freeman issued a research note to investors saying that Morgan Stanley’s earnings potential will be hampered by a slowdown in capital markets, along with political uncertainty and risk aversion from investors. Freeman said that he expects there to be continued weakness in capital markets following a disappointing summer and month of September. He also said  that Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) will also be hurt by its own credit losses, citing the Federal Reserve’s figures suggesting a drop in loan balances for the top 25 banks. The analyst lowered his third-quarter earnings per share estimate to $0.06 per share, down from $0.59 per share. The analyst also set a full-year 2011 earnings per share estimate of $2.60, down from $3.15.

Morgan Stanley is a financial holding company. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, the Company operates as a global financial services company that provides its products and services to a diversified group of clients and customers, including corporations, governments, financial institutions and individuals. It operates through three business segments: Institutional Securities, Global Wealth Management Group and Asset Management. In May 2010, Invesco Ltd. acquired the Company’s retail asset management business. During the year ended December 31, 2009, it disposed its former real estate subsidiary, Crescent Real Estate Equities Limited Partnership. On May 31, 2009, the Company and Citigroup Inc. (Citi) consummated the combination of the Company’s Global Wealth Management Group and the businesses of Citi’s Smith Barney in the United States, Quilter in the United Kingdom and Smith Barney Australia. The combined businesses operate as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Holdings LLC.

Shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) traded down 1.49% during mid-day trading on Monday.