CoreStates Up; Strong Report Expected

Shares in CoreStates Financial Corp. rose sharply -- probably on the expectation that today's earnings report would contain good news about credit quality, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Livia Asher.

"The company has been signaling to people they are going to have a pretty good quarter," Ms. Asher said.

At midafternoon, CoreStates shares were trading at $45, up $1.625.

Although CoreStates stock has had some ups and downs recently, analysts are impressed by the company's fee business and a forthright approach to managing credit risk. Salomon Brothers Inc. cited those qualities in a report last month.

Otherwise, bank shares were mixed. A few companies showed strong gains:

National City Corp. was up $1.25, to $37.50; Northern Trust Corp., $1.25, to $51; and Wachovia Corp., $1, to $56.125. BankAmerica Corp. stock lost 37.5 cents a share. The company announced its planned acquisition of Honfed Bank of Honolulu and its parent, H.F. Holdings Inc. Among thrifts, Washington Mutual Savings Bank rose $1.125 a share, to $33.87.

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