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Wachovia Upgrades Raymond James

Wachovia upgrades regional retail brokerage Raymond James Financial (RJF) to outperform from market perform.

Analyst Douglas Sipkin says from a fundamental perspective (organic growth), he believes Raymond James is the best regional retail brokerage name to own. He cites the firm's continued outsized performance within its investment banking effort as part of reason for upgrade.

Also, he thinks the upcoming lending initiative within Raymond James bank could boost year-on-year fiscal 2006 (ending September) results and notes Raymond James's pending merger and acquisition pipeline is at an all-time high at $4.4 billion, according to SDC Thomson Financial.

Sipkin raises his $2.02 fiscal 2006 earnings per share estimate to $2.10. He maintains his 48 cents third-quarter and $1.97 fiscal 2005 estimates.

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