Stelmach's fourth-quarter estimate matches the consensus, but for 2012, the analyst estimates EPS of $2.65, which is ahead of the consensus estimate of $2.49.

While FBR was waiting for "further clarity on accretion" before revising its earnings estimates for Raymond James, Stelmach said the Morgan Keegan deal was "nicely accretive," at 3% for 2012, "excluding deal-related expenses." The analyst added that "using 2013 consensus, we get to RJF's modest 2%-3% accretion only by assuming zero cost savings. But, on an estimated $930 million expense base for Morgan Keegan, 5% to 10% in cost savings does not seem unreasonable."

Stelmach said that the "the operating leverage at Raymond James is underappreciated, and we expect RJF to outperform, absent any multiple expansion due to improved earnings, as the operating environment becomes more favorable, particularly in financial advisor production and investment banking activity.

Raymond James' shares traded for 14 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate, as of Wednesday's close at $34.18.

Interested in more on Raymond James Financial? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Shares of Stifel Financial ( SF) of St. Louis were similarly valued at 14 times forward earnings, based on Wednesday's closing price of $32.93.

Stifel is set to announce its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 13. Analysts expect the company to report fourth-quarter earnings of 43 cents a share. The consensus EPS estimate for 2012 is $2.39.

Interested in more on Stifel Financial? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.


-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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