Morgan Stanley (MS) has distinguished itself from other investment banks in recent years by profitably growing its wealth management business at a time when many traditional banking businesses have been stagnant.
The stock has been under pressure for most of the year, despite another solid year from an operations standpoint, along with the lift in earnings per share (EPS) from the tax reform giving a significant boost to earnings. At 1.26 times tangible book value, which is low for a financial institution that derives a lot of income from financial services, and less than 10 times this year’s EPS, the stock seems to be priced with investors fearing a significant bear market or financial crisis, neither of which I see coming.
The stock does seem to be building a base near its current price, showing a sign that a turnaround may be coming soon. I will have more in tomorrow’s issue of Hilary Kramer’s Value Authority, but let’s get a head start and buy MS under $49. My target is $56.