Banc One Corp. appears to have impressed Wall Street's investment community with a two-day showing of its new corporate strategy.
Over a hundred bank securities analysts attended the presentation this week at Banc One's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. It was the first time the company has mounted such an effort.
"They said up-front it was going to be a revenue story and not primarily about cost savings," said Nancy A. Bush of Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co., New York.
"It was refreshing. A lot of people wanted to hear that. The knock on the banking industry has been that it can't grow revenues."
Banc One is among the country's best-known regional banks and is regarded by many investors as a proxy for that segment of the industry.
The company endured a rare setback last year, failing for the first time in 26 years to post a year-over-year increase in net income. Its stock was among the worst performers in the industry.
Speaking to analysts, Banc One chairman and chief executive officer John B. McCoy described 1994 as "a bump in the road" that has helped the company to better focus itself.
He and others outlined Banc One's shift from its highly decentralized "uncommon partnership" among various affiliated banks to a "national partnership" with a common vision for major lines of business.
A dinner for analysts was held Monday in the lobby and main banking room of Banc One's home office, with one of the company's new 650-square-foot "express branches" set up for inspection.
"Everybody knows Banc One possesses the resources," Ms. Bush said. "They have simply needed to be marshaled in the right direction." She reiterated her "buy" rating on the stock.
Frank J. Barkocy of Advest Inc., citing "improving dynamics" at the company, raised his price target to $38 per share within the next 12 months while retaining his "accumulate" rating on the stock. The stock gained 12.5 cents on Wednesday to close at $34.125.
"They did a good job of dispelling notions of any problems in putting this together," said Thomas D. McCandless of PaineWebber Inc. "They are pretty well along in creating the necessary systems and operation."
But Mr. McCandless also said there was an element of what he called "me- tooism" in the presentation.
"They didn't really go into anything the rest of the industry isn't trying to do as well," he said. And the analyst said the bank has some catching up to do in the use of information-based marketing activities."
Barnett Banks Inc., First Union Corp., First Bank System Inc., and particularly Signet Banking Corp. seem to be in more advanced stages of such activities, he said.
Elsewhere, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. raised its investment rating on Bank of New York to "outperform" from "market performer." The stock rose $1.75 to $41.
Natwest Securities Corp. raised its 12-month price objective for shares of Citicorp to $65 from $60. Analyst Steve Berman said the bond market rally has created a positive environment for large banks.
Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. raised its 1996 earnings estimate for California's Silicon Valley Bancshares to $1.90 from $1.75. The company is "well positioned to deliver attractive top-line revenue expansion," said analyst Joseph K. Morford 3d, who reiterated his "buy" rating on the stock.