Despite the surge in M&A and even IPOs, shares of Jefferies Group (NYSE:JEF) have been lackluster this year. Perhaps investors have overly optimistic expectations, or perhaps performance has been dampened by the firm's weakness in its trading and asset-management businesses.

Fiscal first-quarter revenues inched up only 1% to $418.8 million, while earnings increased 7% to $62.3 million, or $0.42 per share. By comparison, Jeffries enjoyed a particularly strong first quarter in 2005.

Jefferies continues to snag plum assignments. Its latest engagements include the buyouts of Kronos (NASDAQ:KRON) and Vertrue (NASDAQ:VTRU). The upshot was a 33% jump in investment-banking revenues, to $170.1 million.

One trouble spot for Jefferies was its principal trading, where revenue fell 10%, to $144.4 million. The company also endured a 55% plunge in revenues in its asset management business. These segments can be volatile, but investors should nonetheless monitor this weakness; in such a highly competitive industry, it could linger for some time.

Jefferies appears to be gaining traction in its joint venture with MassMutual, which grants investment banking clients access to debt capital. Unfortunately, the arrangement remains in the early stages, and it will take time to move the needle for Jefferies.

Trading at 20 times earnings, Jefferies is valued similarly to other mid-tier investment banks like Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) and KBW (NYSE:KBW). Given its recent weakness, it's probably a good idea to hold off on Jefferies' stock for now.

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 2,719 out of 25,386 in CAPS.