Bank technology stocks remained flat last week, despite the continued surge in the general market.
Observers said moderate corporate growth and low inflation favors safe, longer-term investments. Still, many technology stocks - considered speculative - have retained gains achieved in the last few months.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s index of U.S.-traded technology companies rose more than 3% for the week, closing Friday at 118.22.
The Nasdaq Composite index - which lists many technology firms - rose 12.4 points to close at 1,274.2, and the Dow Jones industrial average also climbed another 123.73 points, to 6,471.76.
Despite these rises, Gregory M. Gould, analyst at Goldman Sachs, said the bank services sector has been weak.
"The group had been up, but then we had a couple of disappointments in the sector," including Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s recent nosedive.
BHC Financial Inc.'s stock edged up 12.5 cents for the week, to $16.50, amid rumors that Pershing, a unit of Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, and National Finance Corp., a unit of Fidelity Investments, each were interested in acquiring the company.
BHC processes securities transactions for broker-dealer affiliates of banks. In October, Private Capital Management Inc., Naples, Fla., a 19% shareowner of the Philadelphia-based company, offered to buy the company, but was rebuffed.
On Thursday, BHC adopted a "poison pill" measure, a shareholder rights plan used to discourage unwanted takeover bids. Companies enact such defensive measures to inflate potential acquisition costs.
But observers said BHC is under pressure to improve its stock price. Investors are unhappy with announcements that Norwest Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., and USAA Brokerage Services will end relationships with BHC.
But William T. Spane Jr., chairman and chief executive of BHC, said the company is performing well. "We have added a bank and three broker-dealers in the past quarter," he said. "Our prospects are excellent."
In other news, Equifax Inc. said it will expand its international credit bureau services. The Atlanta-based firm will strengthen its Europe, Latin American, and the Pacific Rim operations.
The company hopes to double its overseas sales to almost to $400 million by 2000.
Currently international sales contribute 13% of the company's $1.75 billion annual revenues.
Equifax also said it has signed a definitive agreement to sell a health care subsidiary to HCIA Inc. for $11.5 million in cash.
Its shares were off 87.5 cents for the week, closing at $32.125.
Intuit Inc., Menlo Park, Calif., reported that it lost $13.9 million, or 30 cents a share for quarter ending Oct. 31., compared to a loss of $9.1 million, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Earnings per share met a consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts that is published by First Call.
Intuit said losses are expected for the quarter due to the seasonal nature of selling its personal tax software. Its stock price was down 50 cents for the week, closing at $35.50.