Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Investment Broker industry, over the last six months. However, the company’s higher dependence on trading revenues remains a major concern. Trading revenues are anticipated to be weak in the coming quarter due to lower client activity and this could hurt the company’s top line growth in the near-term. Nevertheless, the company’s efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk should lead to improvement in profitability.”

Several other research firms have also issued reports on MS. Compass Point lowered Morgan Stanley from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $34.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Monday, March 27th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Vetr downgraded Morgan Stanley from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $39.48 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, March 27th. Instinet reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $50.00 price target (down from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Saturday, June 3rd. HSBC Holdings plc reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $45.00 price target on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Tuesday, April 25th. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Thursday, March 30th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating, seventeen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $43.89.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE MS) traded down 0.946% on Tuesday, reaching $45.555. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,839,264 shares. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $43.48 and a 200-day moving average of $43.65. Morgan Stanley has a one year low of $26.03 and a one year high of $47.33. The stock has a market cap of $84.27 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.514 and a beta of 1.62. Morgan Stanley also was the recipient of unusually large options trading on Monday. Stock traders purchased 6,765 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 381% compared to the typical volume of 1,407 call options.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 19th. The financial services provider reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.90 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $9.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.29 billion. Morgan Stanley had a return on equity of 9.60% and a net margin of 16.83%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 25.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.55 EPS. On average, analysts predict that Morgan Stanley will post $3.42 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Chairman James P. Gorman sold 212,365 shares of Morgan Stanley stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.93, for a total transaction of $9,116,829.45. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 1,389,378 shares in the company, valued at approximately $59,645,997.54. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 0.24% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MS. Invictus RG bought a new stake in shares of Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth about $106,000. FTB Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Morgan Stanley by 8.1% in the first quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 2,605 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $112,000 after buying an additional 196 shares in the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue bought a new stake in shares of Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth $120,000. Adirondack Trust Co. raised its stake in shares of Morgan Stanley by 2.5% in the first quarter. Adirondack Trust Co. now owns 2,824 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 70 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First Manhattan Co. raised its stake in shares of Morgan Stanley by 17.0% in the first quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 4,294 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 624 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.21% of the company’s stock.

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.

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