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Jeffries: A Top Picks among Asset Managers

10/07/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: FINANCIALS

Mark Skousen

Editor, Forecasts & Strategies, High-Income Alert

New York-based asset manager appeared on our Five Star radar screen: Jefferies Financial Group Inc. (JEF), asserts growth and income specialist Mark Skousen, editor of Five Star Trader.

Jeffries a financial management company that only now is finally recovering from the financial crisis of 2008. Back then, the stock sold for $52 a share. Now you can get it for half that amount.

It was recently dropped from the S&P 500 Index and placed in the S&P Midcap 400 Index. That makes the investment bank dirt cheap. It is still selling below book value of $33.90 and at only 6.3 times earnings!

It has a price-earnings to growth (PEG) ratio of only 0.38 (anything less than 1 is considered excellent). The company has $18 billion in cash, which is plenty to service a long-term debt of $21 billion.

But suddenly Jefferies has perked up, and its most recent quarter soundly beat Street expectations. Earnings climbed to $265 million on revenues of $5.2 billion. Profit margins rose to 21.4%.

Major U.S. company ExxonMobil hired Jefferies to sell its stakes in oil & gas fields off the Norwegian coast, which will fetch up to $4 billion.

Jefferies has a rising dividend policy and it currently is paying a quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents per share. The investment bank also announced last week that it will be distributing the common stock of Spectrum Brands to Jefferies stockholders of record on Sept. 30, a special dividend of approximately $1.50, or 7.4% per Jefferies share. Expect to be paid on Oct. 11.

CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman said that the dividend reflects the company's efforts to simplify its structure and return "excess capital to our shareholders in whatever form is appropriate." Let's take advantage and buy Jefferies Financial Group at market.

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