Goldman, Sachs & Co, and its clients reportedly were trading Shawmut National Corp. shares in unusually heavy volume Thursday and Friday, driving the price sharply downward.
Over the two days, shares in the New England bank fell $1, to $19, a 5% decline to a new low for the year.
Thursday volume was unusually heavy, at 730,000 shares. Friday, 1.9 million Shawmut shares were traded, or nearly four times the average daily volume of 495,000 shares.
Thirty-eight blocks, totaling 1.2 million shares, were traded, many crossed by Goldman on both the buy and sell side, said David J. Sloan, a portfolio manager for SIFE Trust Fund.
SIFE, a $450 million bank fund, owns 821,870 Shawmut shares.
"In this situation that some of these banks are in, it is being overdone in terms of selling," and it is driving stock prices down, Mr. Sloan complained. "There is just too much negative psychology out there, and it is just ripe for the stock" to be oversold.
But that makes for a good buying opportunity, he added. "I am finding a lot of buyers at $19," he said.
Another factor on Friday: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Thomas Theurkauf reduced his 1995 earnings estimate for Shawmut from $2.90 to $2.65 per share.
New England's third-largest banking company will raise its loan-loss provision from $10 million to "more normal levels," about $35 million, he said.
Mr. Theurkauf also said Shawmut's securities portfolio is sensitive to rising interest rates. "Shawmut is going to be susceptible to margin compression," he said.
The bank demonstrated no desire to take sides. "The market is made up of buyers and sellers. Some days there's more sellers," said a Shawmut spokesman. "In the long run, it generally evens out."