Bank technology stocks treaded water or drifted slightly lower last week, as investors nervously waited on the sidelines in anticipation of another interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve Board.
Software developer Jack Henry & Associates Inc. and trust systems provider SEI Corp. announced moves designed to help bolster their stocks.
Monett, Mo.-based Jack Henry & Associates, whose stock took a pounding last month after the company reported flat earnings for the three month period ended March 31, announced that it had raised its quarterly dividend from 4.5 cents to 5 cents per share. Officials said the dividend increase was the fifth in the last four years.
Pauli & Co., a St. Louis broker, reiterated it's "buy" recommendation, saying it felt Jack Henry's stock was "undervalued." Jack Henry stock closed at $7.0625 per share Friday, down 18.75 cents for the week.
SEI announced Wednesday that its board had authorized another $20 million to be used by the company for the repurchase of its common stock. The last authorization was announced March 3, officials at the Wayne, Pa., company said.
SEI shares closed at $20.25 Friday, down $1 for the week.
NDC Eyes Health Care Firms
In an interview with Dow Jones on Friday, payment processor National Data Corp. said it is pursuing several possible acquisitions in the health care information industry.
NDC's chairman and chief executive, Bob Yellowlees, said the Atlanta-based company is looking to link up with hospitals, dental offices, pharmacies, nursing homes, and health maintenance organizations.
"We feel that the winners in the health-care field will be those who provide total systems solutions as opposed to being in one narrow segment," Mr. Yellowlees said.
Mr. Yellowees said the company will need to make acquisitions or form alliances. For the most part, he said, health care is still a "cottage industry" that is poised for consolidation.
He said that acquisitions could be financed through issuing stock, since NDC's balance sheet is strong and its stock price continues to rise.
Health-care reform, he noted, only promises to help NDC's business. With increased coverage and greater emphasis on reducing costs, he said, his company's services will be in higher demand.
"We intend to continue to broaden our range of value as added applications come in, to serve what we see as the health care information highway," Mr. Yellowlees said.
He also said the company was comfortable with analysts' projections of 27 cents per share for its fiscal 1994 fourth quarter, which ends May 31.
National Data's stock closed Friday at $17.50 a share, down 37.5 cents for the week.