Morgan Stock Has Rocky Day, Closes High

NEW YORK - J.P. Morgan & Co.'s shares recovered from a slide in early trading Friday to close up 81.25 cents, at $126.0625, after Merrill Lynch & Co. and ING Barings boosted their earnings estimates on the company.In unusually volatile trading, J. P. Morgan's shares were as low as $122.25, in response to a note issued in the morning by Merrill analyst Judah Kraushaar, warning that the New York banking company might be poised to advise analysts to lower their earnings estimates.

Market sources said Mr. Kraushaar then called J.P. Morgan and, after talking with the company, raised his fourth-quarter earnings estimates to $1.86, from $1.69.

Morgan's shares soared as high as $131.1875

Mr. Kraushaar did not return phone calls. J.P. Morgan declined to comment. Andy Collins analyst at ING Barings raised his estimates on the company to $1.90 for the fourth quarter, from $1.75, saying the bank's fixed-income and merger and acquisitions businesses were strong.

"However, venture capital and proprietary trading are still down," Mr. Collins said.

- Tania Padgett


Employees to Buy Fund Unit from NatWest

LONDON - NatWest Equity Partners, a unit of Britain's National Westminster Bank PLC, said Friday that its employees had agreed to buy out the fund management company.The decision was made as National Westminster tries to defend itself from hostile takeover bids from Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland PLC.

NatWest Equity said it plans to continue managing NatWest Group's private equity assets. Terms of the deal, expected to close in the next few weeks, were not disclosed.

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