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Robert Trigaux

Stock picking at Raymond James: From alpha dog to back of the brokerage pack?

9

February

Raymondjameshqbuildingscourtesyofrj Wake up and good morning. From alpha dog to back of the pack? Has Raymond James lost its stock-picking touch? The brokerage has posted poor showings since mid-2008, when it routinely led the pack of brokerages in Barron's stock-picking contest.

Raymond James, based in St. Petersburg (headquarters in photo), fared poorly in the latest Barron's semi-annual review (ending Dec. 31) of stock picks from 13 top brokerage firms. Wall Street is infamous for brokerages suffering hot and cold streaks. Well, baby, it's been chilly lately up in the Carillon office park which is Raymond James headquarters. At least for now.

Every six months, Barron's ranks the stock picks of brokerages big and small. The ranking is based on the performances of the firms' "focus lists," or best ideas, which can include anywhere from 10 to 100 stocks. Zacks Investment Research tracks the lists and crunches the numbers for Barron's.

According to Barron's (here's this month's full story), the average broker in the contest did outperform the market consistently. Not so at Raymond James. Let's look at highlights from the four performance tables below, which can be viewed in their entirety here:

Performance over six months ending Dec. 31:
S&P total returns: 22.6 percent.
Average broker returns: 22.7 percent.
Best performing brokerage: Goldman Sachs: 30.5 percent.
How Raymond James did: 15.6 percent.
Worst performer of 13 brokerages: Wedbush Morgan: 7.8 percent.

Performance over one year ending Dec. 31:
S&P total returns: 26.5 percent.
Average broker returns: 35.7 percent.
Best performing brokerage: McAdams Wright: 56.4 percent.
How Raymond James did: 23.2 percent.
Worst performer of 13 brokerages: Raymond James: 23.2 percent.

Performance over three years ending Dec. 31:
S&P total returns: -15.9 percent.
Average broker returns: -9.1 percent.
Best performing brokerage: McAdams Wright: 0.1 percent.
How Raymond James did: -17.6 percent.
Worst performer of 13 brokerages: not available

Performance over five years ending Dec. 31:
S&P total returns: 2.1 percent.
Average broker returns: 12.9 percent.
Best performing brokerage: Morgan Keegan: 28.5 percent.
How Raymond James did: -14.2 percent.
Worst performer of 13 brokerages: not available.

Last month, Raymond James published its "best picks" stock list for 2010 that includes companies ranging from Aflac, Inc. (AFL: NYSE), Alpha Natural Resources (ANR:NYSE) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC:NYSE) to Best Buy Co. (BBY:NYSE), Chevron Corp. (CVX:NYSE), CVS/Caremark Corp. (CVS:NYSE) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. AMTD:NASDAQ).

Here's hoping there's a warming spell in RayJay's picks.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:27pm]

    

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