Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) has been downgraded by Societe Generale on February 01 which now rates the stock as Sell compared with Hold rating suggested in the past. Analysts at Citigroup, shed their negative views on January 09 by lifting it fromNeutral to Buy. Brokerage firm Barclays, looks cautious as they stick to prior recommendation of Equal Weight, in a call on January 02. However, they did change the target price from $63 to $55. Wells Fargo analysts came out with bullish views on October 24 when the call was made. They think the stock is now Outperform compared to to their prior call for Market Perform.
Morgan Stanley (MS) hit an intraday high Monday at $41.08. The shares finished at $40.21, after trading as low as $40.19 earlier in the session. It dropped -1.47% in recent trade and currently has a stock-market value of $70.3B. Trading activity significantly improved as the volume at ready counter increased to 16,961,346 shares versus 15,713,045 in average daily trading volume over the past 20 days. So far this year, the volume has averaged about 14,303,614 shares. The stock is now 9.44% above against its bear-market low of $36.74 on December 24, 2018. It has retreated -47.67% since it’s 52-week high of $59.38 reached in March. Now the market price is down -22.36% on the year and up 1.41% YTD.
MS’s 50 day simple moving average (SMA 50) price is $41.53 and its 200-day simple moving average (SMA 200) price is $46.92. The company’s stock currently has a total float of 1.3B shares. Its weekly volatility is hovering around 2.13% and felt 2.25% volatility in price over a month. On the upside, the share price will test short term resistance at around $40.8. On a downside, the stock is likely to find some support, which begins at $39.91. The failure to get near-term support could push it to $39.6.
Separately, it has been reported that multiple insider activity took place at Morgan Stanley (MS). Chief Human Resources Officer Brodsky Jeffrey S sold 15,565 shares for $116,358 in transaction occurred on 2019/01/18. After making this transaction, the Chief Human Resources Officer owns a direct stake of 675,210 shares, worth $4,678,755, as per the last closing price. On 2018/02/26 Wirth Paul C, Deputy CFO at MS, dumped 20,000 shares at an average price of $56.91 per share. The selling total is valued at $7,479,181.
CFO, Pruzan Jonathan had divested 52,204 shares for $130,054 through a trade on 2018/02/16. Following this activity, the insider holds 2,889,491 shares worth $5,229,471 as of recent close. Wall Street’s most bullish Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) analysts are predicting the share price to blow past $65 per share during the next 12 months. The current median share price forecast by them is $52, suggesting that the stock could increase 29.32% in that time frame. The average price target of $51.98 calls for a nearly 29.27% increase in the stock price.
When looking at valuations, Morgan Stanley (MS) has a cheap P/E of 8.52x as compared to industry average of 21.98x. Moreover, it trades for 7.42 times the next 12 months of expected earnings. Also, it is trading at rather inexpensive levels at just over 0.97x price/book and 1.4x price/sales. Compared to others, Morgan Stanley is in a different league with regards to profitability, having net margins of 14%. To put some perspective around this, the industry’s average net margin is 12.43%. MS’s ROE is 10%, which is also considerably better than the industry’s ROE of 5.87%.
MS last reported earnings on January 17, 2019 when it released Dec-18 results that receded expectations. The company raked in $0.8 per share, -91.71% change on the same period last year. That was worse than consensus for $0.89. Revenue for the recent quarter stood at $8.55 billion, down -10% on last year and below the $9.29 billion predicted by analysts. For this quarter, Wall Street analysts forecast revenue in a range of $9.98 billion to $11.31 billion, which should be compared with $10.7 billion generated last year. EPS is seen in a range of $1.23 to $1.54, against the $1.36 reported a year ago.