Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) shareholders will have a reason to smile today, with the analysts making substantial upgrades to this year's forecasts. The consensus statutory numbers for both revenue and earnings per share (EPS) increased, with their view clearly much more bullish on the company's business prospects.
Following the upgrade, the consensus from 21 analysts covering Morgan Stanley is for revenues of US$43b in 2020, implying a discernible 2.9% decline in sales compared to the last 12 months. Statutory earnings per share are supposed to reduce 9.7% to US$5.06 in the same period. Previously, the analysts had been modelling revenues of US$38b and earnings per share (EPS) of US$3.89 in 2020. So we can see there's been a pretty clear increase in analyst sentiment in recent times, with both revenues and earnings per share receiving a decent lift in the latest estimates.
It will come as no surprise to learn that the analysts have increased their price target for Morgan Stanley 6.7% to US$57.18 on the back of these upgrades. That's not the only conclusion we can draw from this data however, as some investors also like to consider the spread in estimates when evaluating analyst price targets. Currently, the most bullish analyst values Morgan Stanley at US$68.00 per share, while the most bearish prices it at US$45.00. There are definitely some different views on the stock, but the range of estimates is not wide enough as to imply that the situation is unforecastable, in our view.
Another way we can view these estimates is in the context of the bigger picture, such as how the forecasts stack up against past performance, and whether forecasts are more or less bullish relative to other companies in the industry. These estimates imply that sales are expected to slow, with a forecast revenue decline of 2.9%, a significant reduction from annual growth of 4.6% over the last five years. By contrast, our data suggests that other companies (with analyst coverage) in the same industry are forecast to see their revenue grow 3.3% annually for the foreseeable future. So although its revenues are forecast to shrink, this cloud does not come with a silver lining - Morgan Stanley is expected to lag the wider industry.
The Bottom Line
The biggest takeaway for us from these new estimates is that analysts upgraded their earnings per share estimates, with improved earnings power expected for this year. Pleasantly, analysts also upgraded their revenue estimates, and their forecasts suggest the business is expected to grow slower than the wider market. With a serious upgrade to expectations and a rising price target, it might be time to take another look at Morgan Stanley.
Analysts are definitely bullish on Morgan Stanley, but no company is perfect. Indeed, you should know that there are several potential concerns to be aware of, including recent substantial insider selling. You can learn more, and discover the 2 other warning signs we've identified, for free on our platform here.
Another way to search for interesting companies that could be reaching an inflection point is to track whether management are buying or selling, with our free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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