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Shares of Raymond James Financial, Inc. (RJF - Analyst Report) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $53.07 in the second half of the trading session on Dec 31. The closing price of this investment brokerage firm represents a solid full-year return of 30.7%. The trading volume for the session was 889,642 shares.

Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has plenty of upside left, given its strong estimate revisions over the last 60 days and expected long-term earnings growth of 17.0%.

Growth Drivers

Impressive operating performance in Nov 2013, the recent dividend hike and strong fiscal fourth-quarter 2013 (ended Sep 30) results were the primary growth drivers for Raymond James.

On Dec 18, Raymond James announced operating statistics for Nov 2013. Even when there were lesser business days in Nov 2013 than Oct 2013, the monthly performance improved sequentially. Client assets under administration stood at $440.9 billion, up 1.1% sequentially, while total net loans increased 2.2% to $9.1 billion.

On Nov 21, Raymond James announced a 14.3% hike in its quarterly cash dividend. The company will pay a dividend of 16 cents per share on Jan 16, 2014, to shareholders of record on Jan 2, 2014.

Further, on Oct 23, Raymond James reported fiscal fourth-quarter 2013 earnings of 93 cents, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 47.6%. A year-over-year increase of 5.0% in total revenue along with a 10.0% increase in client assets under administration facilitated the robust results.  

Estimate Revisions

Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 advanced nearly 1% to $3.16 per share, while for 2014 it remained stable at $3.65 per share.

Other investment brokers worth considering include KCG Holdings, Inc. (KCG - Snapshot Report), Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (LTS - Snapshot Report), and E*TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC - Analyst Report). Both KCG Holdings and Ladenburg Thalmann carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while E*TRADE Financial holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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