Stifel Skyrockets With Investors as NILE Drops Hard in Trading

Stifel Financial Corporation (NYSE:SF) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Net income for the investment brokerage fell to $27 million (43 cents per share) vs. $41.4 million (86 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 34.7% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue was $356.9 million last quarter. Stifel Financial Corporation fell in line with the mean analyst estimate of 43 cents per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $347.6 million.

“We are pleased to report that 2011 represented our 16th consecutive year of record net revenues. This is significant given continued headwinds and uncertainty in the marketplace, particularly in the second half of the year. We thank our clients for their support and our dedicated employees who strive to distinguish Stifel by providing superior service and execution,” commented Ronald J. Kruszewski, Chairman, President and CEO of Stifel Financial.

Competitors to Watch: Oppenheimer Hldgs. Inc. (NYSE:OPY), Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE:RJF), Siebert Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:SIEB), Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (AMEX:LTS), National Holdings Corp. (NHLD), Rodman & Renshaw Capital Group Inc. (NASDAQ:RODM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:AMTD), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), and Knight Capital Group Inc. (NYSE:KCG).

Blue Nile Inc. (NASDAQ:NILE) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Net income for Blue Nile Inc. fell to $4.2 million (30 cents per share) vs. $6.2 million (41 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 31.7% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue fell 2.1% to $112.3 million from the year earlier quarter. Blue Nile Inc. fell short of the mean analyst estimate of 42 cents per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $123.2 million.

“The fourth quarter was challenging for Blue Nile, with weakness in demand from our high end diamond customers and some of our international markets, as well as the continued impact of inflationary pressure on commodity costs. While we managed the business through these headwinds, we implemented components of a new strategy designed to accelerate growth. This plan centers around the acquisition of non-engagement customers, which we believe in the long term will feed growth in our engagement and non-engagement businesses. This strategy drove positive momentum, resulting in our strongest period of customer acquisition since 2007, with new customer growth of 15%. Additionally, in the fourth quarter we achieved order growth of 22% and unit growth of 30% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Growth in all three of these metrics accelerated in December and we believe these trends are important indicators of the long term growth potential of our business,” said Vijay Talwar, Chief Executive Officer.

Competitors to Watch: Zale Corporation (NYSE:ZLC), DGSE Companies, Inc. (AMEX:DGSE), Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF), Birks & Mayors Inc. (AMEX:BMJ), Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG), Whitehall Jewelers Hldgs. Inc. (WHJHQ), Elegant Illusions, Inc. (EILL), Finlay Enterprises, Inc. (FNLYQ), and USN Corporation (USNR).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com