Chase Manhattan Corp.'s stock got a lift on Wednesday from Lehman Brothers Inc.
Banking analyst James M. Rosenberg said he anticipates vigorous earnings momentum at Chase.
Mr. Rosenberg elevated his investment rating on Chase shares to "buy" from "Outperform." The stock was up 25 cents to $27.375 in late trading, while other bank stocks were mostly lower.
The analyst said he had been "positive for some time" on Chase and now anticipates the bank can earn $4.50 to $4.75 per share by 1995 on a fully taxable basis as credit costs are reduced.
The analyst expects Chase to earn $3.45 per share this year and $3.50 next year.
The buy rating means the analyst anticipates a 25% appreciation in total return for the stock in the next year.
He said he has been impressed by Chase's "substantial progress in building its equity capital base and its good record of expense control." There is also the likelihood of a dividend increase, he said. The stock now pays a dividend of $1.20 per share annually.
Mr. Rosenberg expects the stock to reach the $37-$42 price range within two years, which would be a gain of between 35% and 53% over the current level.
Other Wall Street analysts have also warmed up to Chase recently. Lawrence W. Cohn of PaineWebber Inc. issued a buy rating for the shares in October after the bank announced good third quarter results.
He said then that "the flow of nonperforming real estate assets has slowed dramatically" and that Chase's management "has been consistently pruning out underperforming businesses."
Before some recent gains, Chase's stock had been selling at the lowest price-to-earnings multiple of any money center bank. When it announced its third quarter results, the stock sold for around 6.8 times anticipated 1992 earnings and 5.8 times next year's results.
Many estimates were raised, however, after Chase reported third quarter results of 94 cents per share, up 20% from a year earlier. Wall Street had expected only a small year-over-year gain.
A Big Shift
The steadily improving market reception for Chase is a big shift since mid-1990, when the bank shocked investors by reporting a huge loss and slashing its common dividend.
In the third quarter of 1990, the bank posted a huge deficit of $5.03 per share and its stock price soon plummeted to a low of $9.75 per share.
But the restructuring period that followed has impressed many analysts despite continued real estate-related losses of about $300 million this year.
The bank's management, directed by chairman Thomas G. Labrecque and president Arthur F. Ryan, is focusing on consumer products, regional banking, global private banking, global corporate finance, financial risk management, and transaction and information services.