Magazine article American Banker

Thumbs Up for Fleet and PNC, Down for KeyCorp, Nat City

Magazine article American Banker

Thumbs Up for Fleet and PNC, Down for KeyCorp, Nat City

Article excerpt

Returning to her old roost at Ryan, Beck & Co., bank analyst Nancy Bush started coverage Wednesday of 15 major banking companies, including negative ratings for two and positive for three.

Ms. Bush, who was recently dismissed from Prudential Securities, initiated her coverage during a session in which banking stocks gave back some of their gains from Tuesday as they were dragged down by the broader market.

The American Banker index of 225 banks fell 1.68%, the Dow Jones industrial average 1.63%, and Nasdaq 5.99% because of continued bad news from the technology sector.

In her reports, Ms. Bush tagged two Cleveland companies, KeyCorp and National City Corp., as "distribute," indicating that shareholders should sell the stock or consider selling it.

But she labeled FleetBoston Financial Corp. and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. as "strong buys" and gave State Street Corp. a "buy" rating.

Ms. Bush wrote that KeyCorp "has not demonstrated a coherent strategy for growth, nor has it shown that it can deliver on even lowered earnings expectations." She expects the company's first-quarter per-share earnings will be 54 cents, a penny less than it earned in the same period last year and also a cent under the First Call/Thomson Financial analyst consensus.

KeyCorp's shares have risen 43% since hitting a low of $17.50 last July. The stock dropped 0.2% Wednesday to close at $25.41.

Ms. Bush also said National City Corp., needs a firm strategy after several years of acquisitions. She expects its first-quarter per-share earnings to match those of a year earlier, 53 cents. …

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