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Raymond James Raises Dividend

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Continuing with its strategy of enhancing shareholders’ value, Raymond James Financial, Inc. (RJF - Free Report) 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.

Raymond James continued to pay steady dividend even during the financial crisis. Notably, the company last raised its payout in Nov 2012 by 7.7% to 14 cents per share. Prior to that, in Nov 2010, the company had announced an increase of 18.1% to 13 cents.

Moreover, Raymond James has a share repurchase program in place. In the first nine months of fiscal 2013, the company repurchased 280,243 shares worth $10.7 million. As of Jun 30, 2013, there were shares worth $37.2 million remaining under its current repurchase authorization.

Further, Raymond James remains focused on inorganic growth to drive revenues. In Apr 2012, the company acquired Morgan Keegan and MK Holding from Regions Financial Corporation (RF - Free Report) , which significantly expanded its brokerage and capital markets operations. Moreover, in 2011, the company acquired Howe Barnes, which led to expansion of the Private Client Group segment.

Driven by its stable capital position, we expect Raymond James to pursue its capital deployment activities, going forward.   

Other financial firms that are continuing to reward shareholders include Westamerica Bancorp. and Associated Banc-Corp . These banks recently announced a hike in their quarterly dividends. Westamerica announced a 2.7% increase to 38 cents, while Associated Banc-Corp raised its payout by 12.5% to 9 cents.

Currently, Raymond James carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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