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Raymond James (RJF) Announces Dividend Hike, New Buyback Plan

Raymond James RJF has announced enhanced capital distribution plans, including a dividend hike and a new share buyback program. RJF's board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 45 cents per share, representing an increase of 7.1% from the prior payout. The new dividend will be paid out on Jan 16, 2024, to shareholders on record as of Jan 2, 2024.

Based on the increased rate, the annual dividend came to $1.80 a share, resulting in an annualized yield of 1.71%, considering Raymond James' closing price of $105.15 as of Nov 30.

Raymond James has a track record of regularly raising dividends over the last decade. Prior to the recent hike, the company had announced a 24% increase in its quarterly dividend to 42 cents in December 2022.

RJF raised its quarterly dividend five times in the last five years. Also, it has a five-year annualized dividend growth rate of 16.6%. Currently, the company's payout ratio is 20% of earnings.

Also, concurrently, Raymond James' board authorized the repurchase of its shares of common stock, aggregating to $1.5 billion, with no expiration date. The replaces the previous buyback program of $1.5 billion announced last December. Under the previous program, around $700 million remained as of Nov 30, 2023.

Given a robust capital position and lower dividend payout ratio compared with its peers, the company is expected to sustain efficient capital distribution activities. Such moves are likely to drive shareholder confidence in the stock.

RJF remains focused on inorganic growth moves, supported by its strong liquidity position, which has helped expand into Europe and Canada. This August, the company acquired Canada-based Solus Trust Company Limited. In fiscal 2022, the company acquired SumRidge Partners, TriState Capital Holdings and the U.K.-based Charles Stanley Group PLC. These deals, along with several past ones, poise Raymond James well for future growth.

Yet, the volatile nature of the investment banking business is worrisome, as the performance of the business depends on market developments, client volumes and several geopolitical factors, which are subject to changes.

In the past six months, shares of Raymond James have rallied 11.5%, outperforming 2.1% rise of its industry.

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Currently, Raymond James carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Finance Stocks That Raised Dividends Recently

Popular, Inc.’s BPOP board of directors has approved a sequential hike in its quarterly cash dividend. The company declared a quarterly cash dividend of 62 cents per share, reflecting a rise of 12.7% from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid out on Jan 2, 2024, to shareholders on record as of Dec 7, 2023.

Prior to this, BPOP hiked its dividend by 22.2% to 55 cents per share in February 2022. We believe that such disbursements highlight its operational strength and commitment toward enhancing shareholders’ wealth.

WesBanco, Inc.’s WSBC board of directors has approved a sequential hike in the quarterly cash dividend. The new dividend of 36 cents per share represents an increase of 2.9% from the previous payout. The dividend will be paid out on Jan 2, 2024, to shareholders on record as of Dec 8, 2023.

WSBC has a record of continuously raising its dividends. The latest dividend hike is the 17th time the company has increased its quarterly dividend.  Prior to this hike, the company announced a dividend hike in November 2022. The dividend was increased from 34 cents per share to 35 cents.

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