JMP Group Inc. (NYSE: JMP) Price $6.89

Profile:  JMP Group Inc. (JMP), together with its subsidiaries, operates as an independent investment banking and asset management company in the United States. This 9-year-old San Francisco- based company offers investment banking services, including capital raising, mergers and acquisitions transaction, other strategic advisory to corporate clients, sales and trading, and related brokerage services to institutional investors. The company also offers proprietary equity research related to small and middle-market companies in six target industries, including business services, consumer, financial services, healthcare, real estate and technology. It also provides asset management products and services to institutional investors and high net-worth individuals.

Recent Developments:   Last quarter, JMP Group recently announced a 140 percent increase in earnings per share and a 38 percent increase in sales! Moreover, it announced that Richard Gumar has joined the firm as a managing director in the firm’s New York office. He is expected to broaden the firm’s healthcare investment banking efforts and deepen its footprint in the medical devices industry. With more than $10 billion of mergers, acquisitions and equity and debt transactions to his credit, this bodes very well for JPM Group.

Technicals: After reaching an intermediate low of $5.58 on March 13, 2008, JMP Group made a considerable advance to reach an intraday high of $8.06 in just a few days. Since then, the stock has spent the few weeks consolidating in an increasingly tighter trading range. Noteworthy is the volume spike that occurred on Friday. The last five times the stock has seen an upside volume spike of this magnitude; considerable price gains occurred within just a few days! While not infallible, an underlying principle in technical analysis is that volume spikes often precede major price movement. With a mere 5 cent (or .73 percent) gain on Friday, despite the spike in volume, the odds favor a retest of the previous intermediate-term high of $8.12 in the days to come.

Consideration:  Consider accumulating shares on weakness with a short-term price objective of $8.12 and a longer-term price objective of $9.50. A stop-loss could be considered at $6.54.