How to buy Morgan Stanley shares

Morgan Stanley is a Wall Street institution and one of the most well-known investment banks in the world. Use this guide to help you decide whether you should own some of its stock.
By: James Knight
James Knight
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed,… read more.
Updated: May 19, 2021
Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

In this introduction to Morgan Stanley we take you through everything you need to know, including how to invest in the stock market, a brief history of the company, and the best place to get shares.

Compare the best Morgan Stanley trading platforms

If you’re already familiar with Morgan Stanley and just want to find a place to invest, then choose one of the platforms below. Our experts have scoured the market and narrowed the best options down to these three brokers. Otherwise, scroll down to keep learning about the bank.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Exclusive promotion
user-score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
user-score
9.3
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums
Registered with and regulated by SEC and FINRA
Loss of cash protection
Start Trading
Description:
Financial company driven by technology and offering all-in-one self-directed investment platform that provides excellent user experience.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

How to buy Morgan Stanley stock, a step-by-step guide

It’s simple to get started on the stock market, so we’ve created a straightforward five-step guide to take you through the process. Even if this is your first time, don’t worry, you’ll pick it up in no time.

  1. Choose a broker. The first thing you need to find is an online stock broker. There are many different options to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. The comparison table above can help you select the right broker for you, and you can head to our comprehensive broker reviews if you’re still unsure.
  2. Create an account. Once you’ve selected your broker, simply go to their website and create an account. The steps required for this will vary from platform to platform, but generally you can expect to have to provide your name, email address, phone number, and some form of photo identification.
  3. Deposit funds. Log into your broker account and select the option to deposit funds. Depending on your broker you’ll have a variety of payment options available; most brokers accept bank transfers and debit card payments, but not all accept e-wallets such as PayPal. Select your preferred payment method and deposit the amount of money you wish to invest in Morgan Stanley shares.
  4. Place an order for MS stock. Search for Morgan Stanley’s ticker symbol (MS) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the amount of shares you want to own and place your order.
  5. Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your Morgan Stanley shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in Morgan Stanley!

What is Morgan Stanley? And should I invest?

Morgan Stanley is an investment bank and one of the biggest names on Wall Street. Formed in 1931 as a breakaway from JP Morgan, it helps governments, businesses, and the most wealthy individuals manage their money.

Its customer base means Morgan Stanley is a bit different to an average high street bank. It generates most of its revenue by helping other institutions expand or raise capital, through mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, or issuing bonds.

Banks like Morgan Stanley are best for a long term investing plan. They tend to be cyclical stocks, so you have to be prepared to sit out some tough times if there’s a recession, but they’re vitally important to the financial system. Everyone needs money and banks can provide it. 

How has the company performed in recent years?

The share price has been steadily increasing for a while. It was up 70% between 2016 and the pandemic-induced market crash in 2020. It even managed to increase 30% in 2020 despite that crash.

Two big reasons for its performance are an increase in trading activity and an IPO ‘boom’. Morgan Stanley’s trading division is the biggest on Wall Street, while its investment wing has benefitted from companies queueing up to go public.

As it makes a lot of money from wealth and investment management as well, it’s been less affected by the low interest rates and global uncertainty over the last few years that have hurt high street banks like Barclays. It doesn’t rely on offering loans with small margins that are at risk of default when times are bad.

Is it a good time to buy Morgan Stanley shares now?

It depends on how you expect the economy to look after the pandemic. Those shares have traded close to all-time highs of late on the back of increased trading activity and an IPO ‘boom’. A quieter market might mean slower revenue growth.

If the surge in activity continues, then Morgan Stanley is set to take advantage. It owns nearly a third of the investment banking market share, second only to Goldman Sachs. Plus, it’s been expanding: acquiring the online trading platform eTrade in 2020 to add more millennials to its customer base.

As with all banks, there are lots of lawsuits and regulatory challenges. Morgan Stanley has always managed to shrug these off but it’s always important to know what’s going on in the wider world, especially things that might affect your investment. You can use our market analysis to help:

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) reported Q1 results last week; total revenue has increased by 60.7%, and the Board of directors declared a $0.35/quarterly share dividend, which is in line with previous. Despite better than expected earnings results, shares of this bank are still trading below $80 resistance. Fundamental analysis:…

Buying, selling and trading Morgan Stanley shares for beginners

What to do before buying shares

You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing your money, especially if you haven’t bought shares before. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of making a wise investment. 

With that in mind, here’s a checklist to run through before you do anything.

  1. Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company. What is Morgan Stanley? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is Morgan Stanley’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about Morgan Stanley, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
  2. Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before getting involved in the stock market, make sure you have an understanding of how it works. This will ensure that you have more clearly defined goals and have thought through how you will achieve them.
  3. Decide between share dealing and CFD trading. Choose the type of investment strategy you want to pursue, and make sure you have carried out the necessary fundamental or technical analysis for share dealing and CFD trading respectively.
  4. Set the size of your budget. The golden rule of investing is never to risk more than you can afford to lose. Not every investment you make will result in a profit, so it is important to set a budget that not only allows good potential for capital growth, but also protects against overly damaging losses.
  5. Find the right broker. Individual brokers each have their own pros and cons. Some will have low fees but have a user interface you struggle to understand, whereas others may be a bit more expensive but come with a range of features that you want to take advantage of. Our broker reviews can help you find the right platform for you.
  6. Examine broader market conditions. No stock exists in a vacuum, and it’s always important to analyse the general trends of the stock market as a whole before investing. If a bear market is setting in and stock prices are falling, it’s best to wait it out and invest your money later when the stock is cheaper. If, however, the market is looking bullish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. Our news section can help you keep on top of movements in the financial markets.

What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?

If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of what you can do with Morgan Stanley shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each method.

Buying Morgan Stanley

This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for Morgan Stanley stock, as outlined in the steps further up this page. Ideally you want to time your investment when the stock’s price is low so that you can profit by selling the shares after they increase in value.

Selling Morgan Stanley

When you sell any Morgan Stanley shares, you’ll want to do so at a higher price than the one at which you bought to earn a profit. 

When you sell is up to you. You might decide to hold for a long period of time, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that Morgan Stanley’s stock is already up a lot compared to the price you bought it and you’ve noticed that the stock market is starting to fall, it might make sense to sell and take your profits to invest elsewhere. Equally, if the stock has fallen since you bought it and looks set to fall further, it might be a good idea to cut your losses by selling your shares.

Trading Morgan Stanley

Trading is the same process, it’s just done over shorter periods of time with the aim to make small profits on a regular basis. This means that you can make money faster and spend your profits in your day-to-day life – however, on the other side it means you can lose money faster as well. For inexperienced investors, we generally recommend making investments for at least 6 months to a year instead of making trades in quick succession.

You can trade Morgan Stanley shares through making lots of moves, or by trading with CFDs. These allow investors to speculate on stock prices and trade with leverage in pursuit of bigger gains. CFDs trading is explained further in the next section, but it is worth noting that beginners should avoid trading with leverage. It comes with large risks and is best left to experienced investors.

Share dealing vs CFD trading

When it comes to investing in any stock, the two options you have are share dealing and trading. Which one of these methods to opt for largely depends on your investment timeline, with investors thinking long term tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short term gains pursuing a more aggressive trading strategy.

Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Share dealing 

Share dealing refers to the practice of holding shares in a particular company over the long term. When investing like this, you’re seeking to profit either from dividend payments or an increase in the stock’s price over time.

When investing your money this way, it is important to do thorough fundamental analysis of the company in which you are investing. You want to put your money in a stock you believe will trend upwards over time, even if there is some market volatility along the way, rather than get distracted by shorter term peaks and troughs.

Pros

  • Can build wealth over time to achieve financial goals
  • Don’t need to be very reactive to short-term market movements
  • Some stocks will give you an income through regular dividend payments

Cons

  • Takes a long time to realise any profits
  • Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments

CFD Trading 

If your aim is to generate profits in the short term, then you might be better off trading shares than holding them in your portfolio. Stock trades like this are executed using CFDs (contracts for difference), which allow investors to trade against the value of a stock without having to take ownership of it. When CFD trading, investors are looking to buy and sell stocks fast to profit from short-term fluctuations in value.

One aspect of CFD trading that many investors find attractive is that they allow you to trade with leverage. This means you can place large trades while only putting up a fraction of the value yourself – for instance, if a platform offered leverage of 1:10, you could put £10 into MS shares and be able to trade £100 worth. This can maximise profits if the market moves in your favour, but be careful as it can also lead to heavy losses.

When trading using CFDs, it is key to be skilled at technical analysis and reading stock price charts. As you’re trading stocks quickly and frequently, the fundamental strength of the company in which you’re investing isn’t as important as being able to predict how its stock price will rise and fall minute-by-minute.

Pros

  • Can generate fast profits if you read the market right 
  • Some platforms allow you to trade with leverage
  • Prevents your capital being tied up so you can take advantage of investment opportunities

Cons

  • Trading with leverage is risky and can lead to big losses
  • Doesn’t necessarily generate growth over the long term

Consider which approach suits you best and craft an investment strategy that works for you. If you need more information, then simply take our stock trading course and read our guide to CFD trading to get you up to speed. 

How to choose a broker

With the wide variety of online brokers available these days, it can be hard to figure out which is the best service to go with. Our comparison table and in-depth reviews can help you cut through the noise, but by and large these are the aspects you should be considering when selecting a broker:

  • Range of stocks available. The most important thing is that you can actually find the shares you’re looking for. Some brokers offer more stocks than others, and many will allow you to trade other assets, such as forex and commodities.
  • Fees and commissions. You want to keep as large a chunk of your profits as you can, so it’s important to make sure your broker doesn’t charge high fees that can eat into your profits.
  • Regulation. Regulated brokers are the best places to buy shares in Morgan Stanley. Unregulated brokers can be risky and offer little to no protection if the business were to fail while you had funds in your account.
  • Payment methods available. You might want to fund your trading account with specific payment method, such as PayPal. Not all brokers accept every payment method, but using our comparisons you can search only the brokers that support the option you’re looking for.
  • Reputation. One of the strongest indicators of a broker’s reliability is the reputation it has with the customers who have used it. Brokers are online businesses, and as such many user experiences can be found online. You can check these out in addition to our reviews to make sure you choose the right platform.
  • Customer service. As you’re going to be investing your money using the platform, you want to check that the broker offers good customer service in case you have a query or something goes wrong.

Latest Morgan Stanley news

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) reported its fiscal second-quarter results on Thursday morning, beating analyst expectations on revenue and earnings. As a result, the MS stock price surged 2.88% before pulling back in later for a net intraday gain of just 0.43%. Morgan Stanley’s non-GAAP EPS of 1.89…
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) reported its financial results for the second quarter on Thursday that beat Wall Street estimates. The company’s trading revenue, however, missed expectations by a significant margin. Despite market-beating results, shares of the investment bank were about 1% down on Thursday morning. Financial performance Morgan Stanley…
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) has urged investors to be careful with Chinese stocks due to the country’s latest regulatory crackdown round on tech companies. In mid-January, the investment bank had cautioned Chinese internet stocks despite being bullish nine months before. The reason behind the caution was high valuations…
The Wall Street banks, including JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Bank of American (NYSE: BAC), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), announced an increase in dividends late on Monday after passing the Federal Reserve’s annual stress test last week. The…

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Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

James Knight
Financial writer
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed, rode, and ate an ostrich all on… read more.