One of the banking industry's most influential analysts is predicting a sharp pickup in merger activity next quarter - and sees AmSouth Bancorp. and Shawmut National Corp. as among the most likely takeover targets.

The merger picks, by Thomas Hanley of First Boston Corp., are somewhat surprising. Am-South, based in Alabama, and Connecticut's Shawmut are both big players in their regions, and each has said they plan to remain independent. Either would fetch more than $1 billion.

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