Shares of First Union Corp. and Fleet Financial Group Inc. both got boosts on Wednesday after they were upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" by Nancy A. Bush of Browm Brothers, Harriman & Co.

In late trading, First Union was ahead 75 cents to $47.75, while fleet was unchanged at $34.75.

"The valuation of First Union's shares is compelling," said the analyst. They sell at nine times her 1994 estimated earnings of $5.20.

Cost-Cutting Prowess

"That is the lowest valuation of any major Southeastern regional bank except NationsBank Corp.," she said.

Ms. Bush said she felt First Union chief executive Edward M. Crutchfield has demonstrated cost-cutting prowess and has skillfully managed the bank's securities portfolio.

Fleet Financial has powerful earnings potential, the analyst said. Her earnings estimates are $2.95 this year, $3.80 next year, and a preliminary 1995 earnings forecast of $4.35 per share.

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