Driven by good loan growth in its Florida markets and tight expense controls, Barnett Banks Inc. earned $125.4 million in the fourth quarter, up 11% from the year-ago period. Barnett's earnings of $1.21 per share beat Wall Street consensus estimates by one cent.

"They are a lot stronger than they look," said PaineWebber analyst Thomas D. McCandless. "It's pretty clear that after several years of declining revenues, they're on the verge of reaccelerating."

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