Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Stock investors purchased 6,765 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of 381% compared to the typical daily volume of 1,407 call options.

In other Morgan Stanley news, CFO Jonathan Pruzan sold 25,767 shares of Morgan Stanley stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.68, for a total value of $1,202,803.56. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 196,708 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,182,329.44. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman James P. Gorman sold 212,366 shares of Morgan Stanley stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.26, for a total value of $10,036,417.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 1,602,609 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $75,739,301.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.24% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MS. Quadrature Capital Ltd raised its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 130.8% in the fourth quarter. Quadrature Capital Ltd now owns 14,700 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $621,000 after buying an additional 8,330 shares during the last quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co raised its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 5.5% in the first quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 12,802 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $548,000 after buying an additional 662 shares during the last quarter. Osborn Williams & Donohoe LLC raised its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 4.0% in the first quarter. Osborn Williams & Donohoe LLC now owns 5,256 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $225,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 16.2% in the first quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 14,803 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $635,000 after buying an additional 2,066 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Creative Planning raised its position in shares of Morgan Stanley by 36.2% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 74,254 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,181,000 after buying an additional 19,754 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.67% of the company’s stock.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE MS) opened at 47.65 on Thursday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $45.83 and a 200-day moving average price of $44.22. Morgan Stanley has a one year low of $28.86 and a one year high of $48.45. The firm has a market capitalization of $87.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.65 and a beta of 1.63.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 19th. The financial services provider reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.76 by $0.11. The firm had revenue of $9.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.05 billion. Morgan Stanley had a return on equity of 9.83% and a net margin of 16.77%. Morgan Stanley’s quarterly revenue was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.75 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Morgan Stanley will post $3.52 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 31st will be given a $0.25 dividend. This is a positive change from Morgan Stanley’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 27th. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.10%. Morgan Stanley’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 28.65%.

Morgan Stanley declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program 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 programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on MS shares. Instinet reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $50.00 target price (down from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Saturday, June 3rd. Buckingham Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $54.00 target price (up from $51.00) on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Monday, July 10th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Morgan Stanley from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Vetr downgraded Morgan Stanley from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $40.50 target price for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, April 19th. Finally, HSBC Holdings plc reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $45.00 target price on shares of Morgan Stanley in a research report on Tuesday, April 25th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $47.61.

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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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