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With EPS Growth And More, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) Is Interesting

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Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.

See our latest analysis for Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. It certainly is nice to see that Morgan Stanley has managed to grow EPS by 20% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners. It's also worth noting that the EPS growth has been assisted by share buybacks, indicating the company is in a position to return capital to shareholders.

One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. I note that Morgan Stanley's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. Morgan Stanley maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 7.6% to US$59b. That's progress.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Morgan Stanley's forecast profits?

Are Morgan Stanley Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since Morgan Stanley has a market capitalization of US$139b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$304m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!

Is Morgan Stanley Worth Keeping An Eye On?

You can't deny that Morgan Stanley has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That's attractive. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn't surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. Even so, be aware that Morgan Stanley is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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