The smart money likes Martin Friedman.

In the All-Star bank analyst survey, no banker mentioned the thrift analyst of Washington.-based Friedman, Billings & Ramsey.

But his name was on the lips of institutional investors.

They say he has been good at targeting thrift stocks in a tough year and helping pick good takeover candidates. "You don't see his name in print very often, but it should be," said one Boston money manager.

Looking ahead to 1995, Mr. Friedman will again be focused on takeout candidates and opportunities born of depressed stock prices. "The opportunity is to buy these companies now, when everyone is throwing them away," he said. "I think in 1995 the acquisitions pace will pick up. We will see the trend continue, especially for medium to large companies."

Right now, he is recommending Virginia-based PennFed Financial Services; Long Island Savings Bank in New York; Interboro in New Jersey; and tiny companies including FFE Financial in Florida and Fort Bend Holding Corp. in Texas.

His recommendations aren't really for investors wanting to make quick profits on short market swings. Consider a recommendation he made in mid-1993: buy Peoples Federal Savings Bank of Dekalb, Ga., at $10 a share. It recently priced at $19.

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