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Surging Earnings Estimates Signal Upside for Morgan Stanley (MS) Stock

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Investors might want to bet on Morgan Stanley (MS - Free Report) , as earnings estimates for this company have been showing solid improvement lately. The stock has already gained solid short-term price momentum, and this trend might continue with its still improving earnings outlook.

Analysts' growing optimism on the earnings prospects of this investment bank is driving estimates higher, which should get reflected in its stock price. After all, empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements. Our stock rating tool -- the Zacks Rank -- is principally built on this insight.

The five-grade Zacks Rank system, which ranges from a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive externally-audited track record of outperformance, with Zacks #1 Ranked stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 2008.

For Morgan Stanley, strong agreement among the covering analysts in revising earnings estimates upward has resulted in meaningful improvement in consensus estimates for the next quarter and full year.

The chart below shows the evolution of forward 12-month Zacks Consensus EPS estimate:

12 Month EPS

Current-Quarter Estimate Revisions

For the current quarter, the company is expected to earn $1.50 per share, which is a change of +51.52% from the year-ago reported number.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Morgan Stanley has increased 10.34% over the last 30 days, as three estimates have gone higher compared to no negative revisions.

Current-Year Estimate Revisions

For the full year, the earnings estimate of $5.56 per share represents a change of -15.5% from the year-ago number.

There has been an encouraging trend in estimate revisions for the current year as well. Over the past month, eight estimates have moved up for Morgan Stanley versus no negative revisions. This has pushed the consensus estimate 6.54% higher.

Favorable Zacks Rank

The promising estimate revisions have helped Morgan Stanley earn a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Rank is a tried-and-tested rating tool that helps investors effectively harness the power of earnings estimate revisions and make the right investment decision. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Our research shows that stocks with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and 2 (Buy) significantly outperform the S&P 500.

Bottom Line

Investors have been betting on Morgan Stanley because of its solid estimate revisions, as evident from the stock's 8.9% gain over the past four weeks. As its earnings growth prospects might push the stock higher, you may consider adding it to your portfolio right away.


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