Shares of Bank of New York Co. climbed Thursday, after an analyst meeting Wednesday that focused attention on the bank's strong credit card and fee-based businesses.

The stock was up $1, to $56.625, after trading as high as $56.875 earlier in the day. The action ended a weeklong lull in the stock.

Bank stocks in general were trading higher in Thursday. Diane Glossman of Salomon Brothers Inc. attributed the activity to bargain hunting.

Telling New Data

Although much of the information released by Bank of New York at the analyst meeting had been widely known, the company put out some new figures that underscored "how far the business mix has gotten skewed to niche businesses," said Judah Kraushaar of Merrill Lynch & Co.

The bank said each of five key business lines -- credit cards, securities and other processing, special industries lending, factoring and trust, and investment management -- would grow 10% or more, to contribute 60% of next year's earnings.

Mr. Kraushaar said he would have estimated before the meeting that niche business would contribute 45% of earnings. His estimate didn't include factoring and financial service businesses that Bank of New York acquired recently, he added.

"The meeting was very punchy and well organized. They showed us they've got a lot of growth segments," said George Salem, a banking analyst at Prudential Securities Inc.

Conservative and Understated

"If you examined the things they've been saying, there wasn't much new," Mr. Salem said. "But you have to know the style of Bank of New York. It's unusually conservative. When they say something, they're usually understating it."

Chairman Carter Bacot told analysts the bank expects to maintain an annual growth rate of 17% for 1992 through 1996.

Analysts were especially impressed by Bank of New York's credit card business. Credit cards now account for about 12% of the bank's assets and nearly 24% of its revenue, according to Felice Gelman at Dillon, Read & Co.

Unappreciated Strength

She argued that the bank's credit card business may be stronger than some better-known issuers' because it does not rely as heavily on low rates to attract accounts.

Those that do could have a hard time retaining and attracting customers if interest rates rise, she said.

Bank of New York has made a splash in the marketplace with its low-rate Consumers Edge cards. But Ms. Gelman pointed out that cards issued under an affinity card contract with the AFL-CIO still account for more than 40% of the bank's portfolio.

Union loyalty should help the bank keep those customers regardless of interest rate trends, she maintained.

Mr. Salem, who includes Bank of New York on his list of five recommended bank stocks, said the stock price could reach the low $70's in 12 months.

The company said it is aiming for a return on equity of 17% and return on assets of 1.45% in 1996, up from 14.6% and 1.16%, respectively, in 1993.

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