The first two weeks of December brought mostly depressing news from the banking sector, including a string of profit warnings from such big companies as Bank of America Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., J.P. Morgan & Co., and Unionbancal.

One company, however, proved that boring is sometimes better. Bank of New York Co. has concentrated on building up securities processing and other behind-the-scenes businesses, steering clear of investment banking, and last week it presented a shiny outlook for this quarter and beyond.

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