PaineWebber Inc. analyst Stephanie H. Giroux Thursday downgraded Maryland Federal Bancorp to "neutral" from "attractive" on a price basis.

Maryland Federal declined 75 cents on the news, or 3%, to close at $27 on Nasdaq volume of 59,500 shares, compared with average daily volume of 13,000.

Ms. Giroux also reduced her 1994 earnings projection on the savings and loan to $3.05 a share from $3.25 and cut her 1995 outlook to $3.15 from $3.45.

In 1993, Maryland Federal had net income of $3.72 a share, including a 17 cent gain from an accounting change.

Meanwhile, Gruntal Investment Research analyst Katrina Blecher downgraded U.S. Bancorp to "neutral" from "outperform," citing declining loan volume and narrowing net interest margins. The stock closed up 12.5 cents to $24.50.

"New commercial activity is being offset by a high runoff in UBAN's portfolio of indirect automobile lending," she said.

Loan growth is light this year, at 3% to 5%. This compares with last year's volume of 12%, she added.

The bank's net interest margin should continue to decline in the third quarter after falling in the second, she said. An increase in leverage because of the purchase of securities and low margins at Johnstown Savings Bank led to the decline, she said.

Ms. Blecher raised her 12-month price target on the Greater New York Savings Bank to $14. It closed Thursday at $10, down 25 cents.

The thrift's second-quarter earnings were 20% higher than expected, she said, and it expects to increase its mortgage lending business after the recent hiring of an experienced mortgage broker.

In general, New York thrift multiples are continuing to rise. The average price-to-book value for the Empire State's thrifts is now 1.18%, compared with 1.11% two months ago.

Bank stocks were down in general for the day as the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 11.98 points to 3,901.44.

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