Charles Schwab, the man, and Charles Schwab (NASDAQ:SCHW), the company, have pretty much been synonymous with discount brokerage and self-directed investing for as long as I've been alive. And with Mr. Schwab back in the top spot, it seems like the company has regained a lot of its direction and customer focus.

Results for the second quarter were just shy of estimates on the EPS line, but I'd argue that the company's report was more positive than the Street seemed to believe. Revenue rose 21%, net income jumped 35%, and the company continues to improve its return on equity -- once again posting rates above 20%.

The brokerage also posted a 20% jump in new accounts from the year-ago period, while client assets rose more than 15%. There were, however, certainly parts of the report that the Street didn't appreciate so much. While client assets were up on an annual comparison, they did dip slightly on a sequential basis. Likewise, though June trades were up 29% on an annual comparison, they fell 15% sequentially, and management said that July was looking a bit weak as well.

In my book, month-by-month obsession with trading volume is counterproductive. Markets move up and down, and tough markets like these often produce weaker performance at retail brokers. But I don't think that sequentially soft trading revenue means that Schwab is losing the long-term battle with E*Trade (NYSE:ET), TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD), or more traditional full-service brokers like Citigroup (NYSE:C), Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER), and so on.

By the same token, Schwab isn't cheap enough to really get a lot more attention from me. I like that the company has returned to its roots and is cutting fees and prices. I also like that it has a large private bank and can benefit from ongoing growth in wealth management and trust operations. But I don't like all of the above enough to buy in today. After all, paying too much for the stock of a discount broker seems to really defeat the whole purpose.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).