Morgan Stanley shares close slightly higher on Tuesday, bank fined by France’s AMF over bond price manipulation

France’s Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) announced on Tuesday that it had imposed a fine of EUR 20 million ($22.16 million*) on Morgan Stanley (MS), as the Wall Street bank allegedly manipulated prices of sovereign bonds.

The regulator said Morgan Stanley had manipulated prices of French and Belgian bonds in June 2015.

Morgan Stanley shares closed higher for the fifth time in the past ten trading sessions in New York on Tuesday. The stock edged up 0.14% ($0.07) to $49.67, after touching an intraday low at $49.28, or a price level not seen since December 5th ($48.95).

Shares of Morgan Stanley have risen 25.27% so far in 2019 compared with a 24.96% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2018, Morgan Stanley’s stock went down 24.43%, thus, it underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 6.24% loss.

“The activities in question were undertaken in accordance with market practice and as part of the firm’s role and obligations as a market maker,” Morgan Stanley said in a statement, while expressing intentions to appeal.

*1 Euro equals 1.1078 US Dollars

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 24 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Morgan Stanley’s stock price, have a median target of $52.50, with a high estimate of $69.00 and a low estimate of $38.00. The median estimate represents a 5.70% upside compared to the closing price of $49.67 on December 10th.

The same media also reported that at least 18 out of 26 surveyed investment analysts had rated Morgan Stanley’s stock as “Buy”, while 5 – as “Hold”. On the other hand, 1 analyst had recommended selling the stock.

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