UPDATE 3-Analysts raise 2008 profit view for Morgan Stanley

miércoles 17 de septiembre de 2008 18:10 CEST

(Adds Oppenheimer, JP Morgan comments; updates share movement)

By Sweta Singh

BANGALORE, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Several analysts raised their 2008 profit forecast on Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Cotización), after the No. 2 U.S. investment bank's better-than-expected quarterly results brought some relief to a rattled Wall Street, but voiced concerns that macroeconomic factors could weigh on fourth-quarter earnings.

Wachovia, which termed Morgan Stanley's capital position as "good," said, "Conditions remain challenging, but Morgan Stanley is an endgame winner in the industry." The brokerage reiterated its "outperform" rating on the stock.

William Tanona of Goldman Sachs sees significant opportunities for the company to gain market share as a result of uncertainty surrounding rivals. He said Morgan Stanley was the most attractive name in his large-size brokerage universe.

Tanona did not rule out risks to earnings given that September has been a tough month for the entire financial market, but sees the greatest risk for Citigroup (C.N: Cotización) and JPMorgan (JPM.N: Cotización).

Prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney considers valuations for Morgan Stanley "attractive" and believes the company's shares are fairly priced at current levels.

But J.P. Morgan analyst Kenneth Worthington continues to favor Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Cotización) for long-term investors although he believes Morgan Stanley could outperform in the near-term.

Analysts' 2008 earnings-per-share estimates for Morgan Stanley's range between $4.40 and $5.02. Fourth-quarter earnings estimates range between 69 cents a share and $1.04 a share.   Continuación...