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Jefferies (JEF) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue?

Jefferies (JEF) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Have you been paying attention to shares of Jefferies Financial Group (JEF)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 9.8% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $36.42 in the previous session. Jefferies Financial Group has gained 46.5% since the start of the year compared to the 21% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 20.2% return for the Zacks Financial - Miscellaneous Services industry.

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What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on June 28, 2021, Jefferies reported EPS of $1.31 versus consensus estimate of $0.86 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 25.02%.

For the current fiscal year, Jefferies is expected to post earnings of $4.76 per share on $7.11 billion in revenues. This represents a 79.62% change in EPS on a 16.55% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $3.01 per share on $5.72 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -36.76% and -19.53%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Jefferies may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Jefferies has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 7.6X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 10X versus its peer group's average of 9.8X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Jefferies currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Jefferies passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Jefferies shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.



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