Traders Sell Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) on Strength Following Insider Selling

Traders sold shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) on strength during trading on Monday after an insider sold shares in the company. $48.90 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $84.86 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $35.96 million out of the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Morgan Stanley had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Morgan Stanley traded up $0.12 for the day and closed at $46.71Specifically, CFO Jonathan Pruzan sold 25,767 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.68, for a total transaction of $1,202,803.56. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 196,708 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,182,329.44. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman James P. Gorman sold 212,366 shares of Morgan Stanley stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.26, for a total value of $10,036,417.16. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 1,602,609 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $75,739,301.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms have recently weighed in on MS. HSBC Holdings plc set a $54.00 target price on Morgan Stanley and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Vetr raised Morgan Stanley from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $40.50 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Citigroup Inc. raised their price target on Morgan Stanley from $44.00 to $46.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 25th. Macquarie restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $52.00 price target (up previously from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Saturday, July 22nd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Morgan Stanley from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, July 24th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $48.57.

The firm has a market cap of $83.36 billion, a PE ratio of 13.00 and a beta of 1.63. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $46.38 and its 200 day moving average is $44.47.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.11. Morgan Stanley had a return on equity of 9.83% and a net margin of 16.77%. The business had revenue of $9.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.05 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.75 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Morgan Stanley will post $3.50 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 31st were paid a $0.25 dividend. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.20%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 27th. This is a boost from Morgan Stanley’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. Morgan Stanley’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 28.65%.

Morgan Stanley declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Wednesday, June 28th that permits the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the financial services provider to buy up to 6.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MS. Fox Run Management L.L.C. purchased a new position in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth approximately $480,000. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware purchased a new position in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth approximately $268,000. Courier Capital LLC boosted its position in Morgan Stanley by 1.2% in the first quarter. Courier Capital LLC now owns 29,384 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,259,000 after buying an additional 342 shares during the last quarter. Quotient Investors LLC purchased a new position in Morgan Stanley during the first quarter worth approximately $651,000. Finally, Bollard Group LLC boosted its position in Morgan Stanley by 13.4% in the first quarter. Bollard Group LLC now owns 103,197 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,421,000 after buying an additional 12,202 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.47% of the company’s stock.

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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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