How to buy Morgan Stanley Shares (MS)

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.
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Updated: Jul 6, 2023
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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

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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.

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1
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Up to $240 bonus!
Deposit with ACA, Wire, Pay with my bank
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Debit Card, PayPal, Credit Card, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
CySEC, FCA

51% of retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.

2
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Debit Card, PayPal, Credit Card, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Trustly, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Discover, Bank Transfer: SEPA, Bank Transfer: FPS, skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, CySEC #250/14

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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

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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?

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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?

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The Morgan Stanley 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?

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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:

Buying, selling and trading Morgan Stanley shares for beginners

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What to do before buying shares

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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?

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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

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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 

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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 

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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

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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.
Register now & buy Morgan Stanley stock

Latest Morgan Stanley news

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Morgan Stanley Q4 profit tanks 32%
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), on January 16th, reported a 32% annualised decline in its fourth-quarter profit related partially to weakness in institutional securities. Morgan Stanley beats revenue estimates The financial services behemoth saw its net income come in at $1.50 billion – down about 37% ve
Morgan Stanley CEO dubs AI a ‘weapon’ against financial crimes
Artificial intelligence could play a meaningful role in keeping financial crimes in check, says James Gorman – the Chief Executive of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). Morgan Stanley CEO testifies before Congress The Wall Street bank now spends close to $1.0 billion on its cybersecurity efforts aimed at ke
Incoming CEO Ted Pick shares his vision for Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is trending up today after naming Ted Pick its new Chief Executive. Pick will take the helm on January 1st. Pick does not plan on changing the strategy Pick is convinced that the financial services behemoth is already on an optimum track. To that end, he does not plan on ch
Jim Cramer buys Morgan Stanley stock on post-earnings pullback
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) losing 8.0% today despite beating Street estimates for its third financial quarter is an opportunity to buy a quality name at a discount, says the famed investor Jim Cramer. Here’s why Jim Cramer is bullish on Morgan Stanley stock Cramer dubbed the sell-off in “MS” on Wedne
Morgan Stanley will officially launch an AI assistant for financial advisors today
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) will reportedly launch an artificial intelligence-powered assistant for financial advisors on Monday. Morgan Stanley is beating peers in the AI race The multinational investment bank had first revealed plans of such an assistant based on GPT-4 (OpenAI) in March. Its peers i
Morgan Stanley Q2 earnings: ‘it knows how to grow in an environment like this’
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) opened 5.0% up on Tuesday after reporting better-than-expected results for its fiscal second quarter. Wealth management division did well in Q2 Investors are particularly happy because higher interest income fuelled a 16% annualised growth in the bank’s wealth management re

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James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.