H.F. Ahmanson & Co. hasn't won its battle to acquire rival Great Western Financial, but it has convinced analysts to hike earnings forecasts.

The consensus 1997 earnings-per-share forecast for the California thrift jumped to $3.04 on Monday, up 2.7% from $2.96 a week earlier. It was the biggest such rise in the banking and finance sector, according to First Call Corp., Boston.

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