Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) shares gapped up prior to trading on Friday . The stock had previously closed at $28.08, but opened at $28.28. Morgan Stanley shares last traded at $29.03, with a volume of 6,364,412 shares traded.

MS has been the topic of several research reports. Wells Fargo & Co. reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Tuesday, April 19th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods lowered their price objective on Morgan Stanley from $31.00 to $30.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, April 19th. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $29.00 price objective on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Wednesday, April 13th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Morgan Stanley in a report on Monday, April 18th. Finally, Vetr cut Morgan Stanley from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $27.68 price target on the stock. in a report on Tuesday, May 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Morgan Stanley presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $32.70.

The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $27.15 and a 200 day moving average price of $25.99. The company has a market capitalization of $55.46 billion and a PE ratio of 13.42.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The financial services provider reported $0.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.16. The business had revenue of $8.91 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.30 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.79 EPS. Morgan Stanley’s revenue was down 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Morgan Stanley will post $2.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 29th will be paid a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, July 27th. This is an increase from Morgan Stanley’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.15. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.76%.

In other Morgan Stanley news, insider Eric F. Grossman sold 24,952 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.21, for a total transaction of $703,895.92. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 180,212 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,083,780.52. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Donald T. Nicolaisen sold 3,302 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.88, for a total value of $92,059.76. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 91,704 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,556,707.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of large investors have bought and sold shares of MS. Westbourne Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Morgan Stanley by 6.9% in the fourth quarter. Westbourne Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 31,755 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,010,000 after buying an additional 2,045 shares during the period. Pittenger & Anderson Inc. boosted its stake in Morgan Stanley by 3.7% in the fourth quarter. Pittenger & Anderson Inc. now owns 34,640 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,102,000 after buying an additional 1,250 shares during the period. Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new stake in Morgan Stanley during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,753,000. KBC Group NV boosted its stake in Morgan Stanley by 59.6% in the fourth quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 681,478 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $21,677,000 after buying an additional 254,444 shares during the period. Finally, Janus Capital Management boosted its stake in Morgan Stanley by 8.6% in the third quarter. Janus Capital Management now owns 4,722,138 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $148,748,000 after buying an additional 375,509 shares during the period.

Morgan Stanley is a financial holding company. The Company is a global financial services firm that, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, advises, and originates, trades, manages and distributes capital for, governments, institutions and individuals. Its segments include Institutional Securities, Wealth Management and Investment Management.

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