Three Trends Boost Raymond James

03/12/2014 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Richard Moroney

Editor, Dow Theory Forecasts

Our latest featured recommendation—a financial services firm—was taken public in 1983 and has turned a profit in more than 100 straight quarters, observes Richard Moroney, editor of Dow Theory Forecasts.

This is an impressive track record given the massive waves that occasionally upend capital markets.

Raymond James Financial (RJF), a diversified investment bank, generates more than 90% of its revenue in the US, with the balance coming from Canada and Europe. The firm’s financial advisers manage $423 billion for about 2.5 million client accounts.

In April 2012, Raymond James bought rival Morgan Keegan in a $1.18 billion deal. Raymond James has made just a handful of major acquisitions in its history, with Morgan Keegan the biggest, adding more than 900 advisers and $80 billion in client assets.

Three trends—a strong stock market, rising interest rates, and increased corporate mergers-and-acquisitions activity—should set up the company for a strong run in the coming year. Results also hinge on corporate confidence, which seems to be improving.

The consensus expects profits to rise 11% to $3.27 per share on 7% revenue growth in fiscal 2014 ending September. Raymond James says it will consider deals in Canada or the UK to augment organic growth.

Shares trade at 16 times estimated earnings for fiscal 2014, a 21% discount to the average for S&P 1500 investment banking and brokerage stocks.

The stock’s trailing P/E ratio of 17 is 7% higher than its five-year average but 17% below its peer-group average. Raymond James is a Long-Term Buy.

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