Jefferies Financial Group Inc. stock outpaced gains in the broad market on Tuesday after the bank matched analyst earnings estimates and beat on revenue on strength in its merchant banking unit.
Jefferies revenue of $1.44 billion beat the Wall Street consensus target of $1.19 billion.
Shares of Jefferies rose 4.1% on Tuesday, outpacing the 0.5% gain by the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF XLF,
Jefferies is kicking off the fourth-quarter earnings season for banks, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM,
Also read: Banks gain favor in risk-off environment but earnings uncertainty remains
The company also plans to carry out plans announced last year to spin out its Vitesse Energy unit to shareholders this week.
KBW analyst Michael Brown said Jefferies operating income of 35 cents a share beat his estimate of 26 cents a share after breaking out a gain from its sale of Oak Hill to Wafra Inc. in October.
During the quarter, the Merchant Banking unit of Jefferies also booked revenue from the sale of a multi-family project at its HomeFed unit.
“The beat…was relatively low quality as it came from higher merchant banking revenues on higher-than-expected HomeFed sales and slightly higher investment banking and capital markets revenue,” Brown said.
Brown summed up the results as “decent” in a tough quarter and reiterated a market perform rating on Jefferies.
Challenges in the quarter included a higher compensation ratio, lower-than-expected buybacks, and weak business trends which collectively “make it difficult to be constructive on the shares at the current valuation,” Brown said.
Jefferies made no comment about statements from Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group 8316,
Fourth-quarter investment banking revenue fell to $568.5 million from $1.19 billion in the year-ago quarter. Jefferies said its mergers and acquisitions net revenues remained strong, but its debt and equity underwriting net revenues were lower and consistent with a reduction in industry-wide deal activity.
Capital markets revenue of $478 million rose slightly as equities net revenues benefited from elevated client trading volumes and market volatility, the company said.
Fixed income net revenue “reflects robust emerging market trading results partially offset by reduced market activity for various fixed income products,” the company said.