Analysts sharply reduced earnings forecasts for Bankers Trust New York Corp. in the wake of last week's disappointing earnings report.

The mean, or consensus, earnings estimate for 1996 among 20 analysts that cover the bank fell by 8.08% last week to $6.37 per share - the largest change among the financial company stocks tracked by First Call Corp.

Analysts said that in the case of Bankers Trust they tend to put more emphasis on earnings announcements in crafting their forecasts, because the company has been unusually reticent to communicate.

"With other companies, there's probably a greater attempt to provide ongoing earnings guidance," said Diane B. Glossman, money-center analyst at Salomon Brothers.

Bankers Trust relied on a $145 million pretax gain from the sale of Northwest Airlines Inc. stock to post a 25% increase in fourth-quarter earnings, to $126 million.

But analysts were disappointed by an unexpected charge of $51 million for legal settlements of old derivatives contracts; it reduced trading results by nearly 3% for the year to $96 million.

Ms. Glossman lowered her estimate to $6.25 a share from $6.75 citing "disappointing" trading revenue and uncertainty over what direction the company will take under its new chief executive, Frank N. Newman.

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Ronald I. Mandle, who lowered his estimate to $6 a share from $6.50, said the negative publicity concerning the sales tactics of Bankers Trust's derivatives unit had cut into its revenue. He also noted an unexpected comment by the bank that it would spend an unspecified amount to build new business lines.

The biggest positive change in consensus forecast among the financial stocks was for John Nuveen Co., the marketer of tax-free investment products. The analyst consensus for 1996 rose 3.78% to $1.92 a share as the company reported an increase in fourth-quarter earnings to 57 cents a share from 37 a year earlier.

The consensus 1996 forecast for St. Paul Bancorp rose 2.53% to $2.03 per share. The Chicago thrift posted earnings of 47 cents a share for the fourth quarter, up from 44 cents for the same period of 1994.

The third-biggest positive consensus change was on another thrift, Peoples Heritage Financial Group - 1.34% to $2.37 a share. The Portland, Maine, company posted earnings of 56 cents a share for the quarter, up from 43 cents a share a year earlier.

The consensus on Republic New York Corp. slipped 1.45% to $6.79 a share as its annual earnings fell to $4.61 for 1995 from $5.79 in 1994.

The consensus on First Commerce Corp. also fell, by 0.91%, to $3.28 a share, as the New Orleans banking company reported an increase in its loan loss provision.

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