Piper Jaffray Hits Sour Note - TheStreet

Piper Jaffray Hits Sour Note

Shares fall after an earnings miss.
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Piper Jaffray

(PJC) - Get Report

skidded 9% after its second quarter missed estimates.

The Minneapolis firm made $10.4 million, or 58 cents a share, from continuing operations, up from the year-ago $7.9 million, or 40 cents a share. But analysts had expected the company to earn 74 cents a share.

The stock was down $4.80 to $50.07.

"We improved our performance over the year-ago period but our revenues and profitability were below our strong results in the first quarter of 2007," said Andrew Duff, its chairman and CEO. "Our equities financing and public finance revenues were strong but were more than offset by lower advisory services revenues."

The firm's institutional sales and trading generated revenue of $44 million, down 12% from the first quarter and flat with a year ago.

Investment banking revenue of $77.8 million, while up 19% compared to the second quarter of last year, fell 9% from the first quarter.

Fees from advisory services fell 35% from a year earlier, to $11.7 million.

"Financial advisory is lumpy," writes William Tanona, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, in a note. "We believe these weak numbers are more the result of deal closings than any fundamental weakness in the environment or Piper's pipeline." Tanona has a neutral rating on the brokerage firm.

On a bright note, the company's equity and "equity-linked" financing fees rose 51% from a year ago to $40.8 million.

Piper Jaffray attributed the rise to the completion of more public equity offerings, it said.

In the second quarter, the company had raised $4.5 billion in capital from 34 equity offerings.

Debt financing also rose 25% to $25.2 million, driven by "robust public finance underwritings."

Consolidation has picked up in the independent brokerage space recently.

In February, Ryan Beck, the brokerage unit of

BankAtlantic Bancorp

(BBX) - Get Report

, was acquired by

Stifel Financial

(SF) - Get Report

. Last month,

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

agreed to purchase

A.G. Edwards

(AGE) - Get Report

-- the largest independent brokerage -- for $6.8 billion.

Market participants consider Piper Jaffray a possible takeover target.

The 112-year-old firm focuses on investment banking and institutional securities services for middle market corporations, private equity groups, nonprofit clients and institutional investors. Piper Jaffray's discontinued operations include its former private client services, which it sold to UBS last August.