Large-block activity in Summit Bancorp. has stirred speculation on Wall Street about a big new shareholder in the New Jersey company, long seen as a possible takeover target.

A block of 601,500 shares changed hands on Tuesday. Analysts and traders said Prudential Insurance Co. was the most likely seller.

The lack of impact on Summit's stock price indicated a ready buyer. The stock fell only 12.5 cents to $22.12 amid trading volume of 908,200 shares, or nearly 17 times the normal pace.

"The fact that it went through with so few ripples probably means someone else was standing by," said Elizabeth Summers, a banking analyst at Ryan, Beck & Co., West Orange, N.J.

Prudential owned 758,116 shares, or about 3% of its Summit's 25.3 million shares of stock outstanding on March 31.

The other Summit shareholders capable of such a large sale are Fleet Financial Group, which holds a reported 1.2 million shares, or 4.8%, and PNC Bank Corp., Pittsburgh, holder of 737,100 shares, or 3%.

Summit Bancorp. declined to comment on the activity in its stock transaction.

M.A. Schapiro & Co., New York, which handled the big transaction, also declined to comment.

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