Dissecting the Insider Trading Patterns of Morgan Stanley (MS)

Recent insider trends for Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) have caught the attention of investors. Analysts study insider data to get a sense of sense of what key shareholders think about the outlook for a particular stock. In the case of MS, the data has some interesting implications for where the stock might be headed.

Institutions own 87.40% of Morgan Stanley (MS)’s shares. The total value of these holdings, in millions, is $77,050. Among active positions in the latest quarter, 408 holders increased their positions by a total of 69.46 million shares, 431 holders decreased the positions by a total of 65.2 million shares, and 164 holders held their positions. This works out to a net increase in ownership of 4.26 million shares, and suggests that institutions are feeling bullish about the stock.

Among new and sold out positions, 80 holders initiated new positions by a total of 4.62 million shares and 79 holders exited their positions by a total of 6.59 million shares. This nets out to a decrease of 1.96 million shares and is another bearish sign for MS.

In the last three months, insiders executed a total of 3 trades. 3 were sells. Insider ownership decreased by a total of 82480 shares, which suggests that MS’s key executives are feeling less optimistic about the outlook for the stock. The data from the past twelve months tells a similar story: insiders executed 27 buys and 40 sells, and ownership decreased by a net of 1.11 million shares.

Comparing the number of shares sold short over time is a method analysts often use to get a reading on investor sentiment. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)’s short interest is 15.23 million shares, or 1.14% of the float. This represents a decrease of -8% in the number of shares being shorted compared to the previous reading, and implies that investors felt less pessimistic about the stock during the past two weeks.

Ownership trends and trading patterns can be useful tools for predicting a stock’s performance, but it’s also important to consider the technicals in order to form a more comprehensive view. A composite of 13 technical indicators that includes measures such as moving averages and momentum oscillators suggests that MS is a hold, which implies that MS is expected to perform in line with the market based on prior trading patterns.


Institutional ownership trends suggest that the stock is cheap and the insider trading data indicates that insiders are bearish. Technical indicators (also) suggest that Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is fairly valued.

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