Magazine article American Banker

Stocks: First Chicago Climbs Sharply after Upgrade

Magazine article American Banker

Stocks: First Chicago Climbs Sharply after Upgrade

Article excerpt

First Chicago Corp. shares rose sharply on Tuesday on the strength of an upgrade by S.G. Warburg & Co.

Warburg analyst Francis X. Suozzo boosted First Chicago to a "buy" from a "hold."

He also raised his earnings estimates to $4.20 per share from $4 for this year and to $5.10 from $4.60 for 1994.

The company earned $3 a share last year.

At 3 p.m., First Chicago shares were up 87.5 cents, to 38.125.

Also on Tuesday, First Chicago raised $1 billion through a two-part offering of floating-rate securities backed by credit card receivables.

Mr. Suozzo cited four factors in the upgrade:

* The bank has restructured its earnings mix toward more growth in consumer banking.

* Operating earnings are expected to rise 40% this year and 19% next year.

* First Chicago is rapidly reducing problem assets, particularly through the establishment of an accelerated disposition program for real estate assets.

* The market is likely to revalue First Chicago shares to 10 times earnings from the current figure of around eight as earnings improve. The 10 P-E multiple suggests a price of $51.

Last week, Mr. Suozzo upgraded First Union Corp., Fleet Financial Group, National City Corp., NationsBank Corp., and NBD Bancorp Inc. He noted that the downturn in bank stocks had created value.

|Very Appealing'

Two months earlier, when bank stocks were still rallying, the analyst had downgraded a slew of banks.

"The stock is very appealing on a valuation basis and is well below what it should sell at on a price-earnings basis," said Ronald Mandle of Sanford C. …

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