According to a report by Reuters, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, Morgan Stanley (MS) plans to relocate some of its sales and trading personnel from London to a secondary site in proximity to Heathrow airport, as it seeks to ensure smooth operation of its trading desks amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Morgan Stanley shares closed lower for a second consecutive trading session in New York on Friday. The stock went down 1.76% ($0.75) to $41.84, after touching an intraday low at $40.37, or a price level not seen since October 9th 2019 ($40.03).
Shares of Morgan Stanley have retreated 18.15% so far in 2020 compared with an 8.00% loss for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).
In 2019, Morgan Stanley’s stock went up 28.93%, thus, it outperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.
Last week, Morgan Stanley tested a site in Hounslow and it intends to move forward with plans to relocate some of its trading personnel from its Canary Wharf site.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co was the first major bank to trigger contingency plans, as it has split its sales and trading personnel between central sites in London and New York and secondary locations in Basingstoke and New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Citigroup is still testing a secondary site in the London suburb of Lewisham, while Goldman Sachs – a secondary site in Croydon.
Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation
According to CNN Money, the 20 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Morgan Stanley’s stock price, have a median target of $60.00, with a high estimate of $76.00 and a low estimate of $45.00. The median estimate represents a 43.40% upside compared to the closing price of $41.84 on March 6th.
The same media also reported that at least 11 out of 23 surveyed investment analysts had rated Morgan Stanley’s stock as “Buy”, while 9 – as “Hold”. On the other hand, 1 analyst had recommended selling the stock.