NEW YORK - Salomon Brothers Inc. analyst Bruce Harting upgraded Great Western Financial Corp. stock to "buy" from "hold."

Mr. Harting says he thinks the Chatsworth, Calif-based thrift holding company - the nation's second largest - is "75% of the way through its problems" related to the weak California economy, and he expects earnings to grow rapidly as loan-loss provisions tail off sharply over the next two years.

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