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.
He is maintaining his earnings estimates of 70 cents a share in 1993, $1.60 in 1994, and $2.50 to $2.80 in 1995.
Mr. Harting says he anticipates the company's share price will rise to about 10 times his 1995 earnings estimate - or $25 to $28 - by "this time next year."
In his earnings estimates, Mr. Harting says, he assumes no asset growth, but simply a return to "a more normalized level" of provisions for bad loans.
Great Western Financial earned 53 cents a share in 1992.