A spectacular profit report by Chase Manhattan Corp., and strong reports from Washington Mutual Inc. and Republic New York Corp., stirred talk Wednesday that the second quarter may have been a high-water mark for the industry.

On the heels of positive earnings reports from other megabanks, Chase's profits soared 30%, to $1.393 billion, and its operating earnings of $1.55 per share beat Wall Street's expectations by 18 cents. Washington Mutual Inc. late Tuesday reported net income up 14%, to a record $453 million. And Republic posted a 20% gain, to $143 million.

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