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

According to Zacks, “Morgan Stanley's shares have outperformed the industry over the last six 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 third-quarter 2017 results benefited from improvement in investment banking and stable equity trading income while slump in fixed income trading, fall in net interest income and higher in operating expenses were the headwinds. The company’s efforts to lower balance sheet risk and strengthen wealth management operations along with its cost saving initiatives (Project Streamline) should further support profitability. 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.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. HSBC Holdings plc set a $54.00 price target on Morgan Stanley and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $53.00 price target on Morgan Stanley and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 15th. Macquarie reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $52.00 price target (up from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Saturday, July 22nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on Morgan Stanley from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 20th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, seventeen have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $50.39.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 17th. The financial services provider reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, topping 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 10.11% and a net margin of 16.76%. Morgan Stanley’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.80 EPS.

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In other news, insider Jeffrey S. Brodsky sold 16,397 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.07, for a total value of $820,997.79. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 111,776 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,596,624.32. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, President Thomas Colm Kelleher sold 40,000 shares of the stock in a transaction 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 directly owns 692,037 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $35,010,151.83. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.24% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Davidson Investment Advisors grew its stake in shares of Morgan Stanley by 2.6% in the first quarter. Davidson Investment Advisors now owns 291,525 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $12,486,000 after purchasing an additional 7,462 shares in the last quarter. Davidson & Garrard Inc. grew its stake in shares of Morgan Stanley by 2.2% in the second quarter. Davidson & Garrard Inc. now owns 5,525 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $246,000 after purchasing an additional 120 shares in the last quarter. Calamos Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Morgan Stanley in the second quarter worth $1,412,000. BB&T Corp grew its stake in shares of Morgan Stanley by 9.7% in the third quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 171,122 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $8,243,000 after purchasing an additional 15,162 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CAPROCK Group Inc. bought a new position in shares of Morgan Stanley in the third quarter worth $220,000. 85.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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