So far, Chase Manhattan Corp.'s response to investor Michael Price's drumbeating has been not to respond.

At an analysts meeting Monday, chief financial officer Arjun Mathrani moved to dispel speculation that in the wake of Mr. Price's 6.1% investment the bank would be put up for sale.

He categorically denied that the money-center was in discussions with any other banks, and emphasized that it had every intention of remaining independent.

He also told analysts that the bank had no plans to sell any business divisions. Mr. Price has argued that Chase is worth more in parts than as a whole.

The bank did, however, announce two initiatives that could be seen as an attempt to boost shareholder value: a plan to cut expenses by 5% to 10% and a 12.5% hike in the quarterly dividend, to 45 cents a share.

Shares of Chase soared tkkt to tktk in heavy trading Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley analyst Art Soter, predicting the bank would cut $300 million from expenses by 1996, upgraded Chase's stock to "strong buy" from "outperform."

Mr. Soter set a 12-month price target of $52 per share. He said shares could command more than $60 by the end of 1996. He also raised his 1995 earnings projection by 15 cents to $5.85 a share.

A spokesman said the bank routinely considers dividend changes after it announces earnings. He noted that Chase last increased its dividend, to 40 cents a share from 33 cents, in July.

Mr. Soter said that investors will give the bank a year to demonstrate it can unlock more value, and that Mr. Price would push the company further if it falters.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.