Thrift stocks are booming on the prospect that mergers with banks will become more frequent in the aftermath of new federal legislation on savings and loan deposit insurance, analysts said.

The legislation, which reduced the premium for thrift deposit insurance to just 6.4 basis points per $100 of covered deposits, from 23 to 26 basis points, will make thrifts more "banklike," said industry observers. Banks' premiums have been at zero, giving them a big cost edge over thrifts.

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