Stocks of mortgage companies surged again last week on word that Margaretten Financial Corp. was being acquired by Chemical Banking Corp. Takeover speculation has lent buoyancy to the group in recent weeks.
Margaretten-scored one of the biggest percentage gains of the week on the New York Stock Exchange, climbing $3.625, or 17.3%, to $24.625. Chemical announced Monday that it would offer $25 a share for the Perth Amboy, N.J., company's 13.2 million outstanding shares.
The Margaretten deal appears to have convinced investors that any mortgage company could be in play. Countrywide Credit Industries, the largest residential lender, showed some weakness until midday Friday, when it rallied strongly, closing the day with a gain of $2.25 a share as trading surged abruptly to 2.4 million shares. It finished the week at $16.25, up a point.
Countrywide's move, however, may have been influenced by an article in Business Week that quoted an analyst at C. J. Lawrence, Karel Carnohan, as saying that the stock has a private value of $50 a share. Adding piquancy to the situation is the fact that Ms. Carnohan is the former investor relations director of Countrywide.
Unusual Strength Shown
North American Mortgage Co., No. 2 among independent mortgage companies, also showed unusual strength, climbing $2 to close at $26.75.
After the close on Friday, Dallas-based Lomas Financial Corp. said it was negotiating to sell its information-services unit.
Lomas' opening-was delayed Monday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. It dosed Friday at $7.75, down 50 cents for the week.