Shares of Bankers Trust New York Corp. dipped on Wednesday after news broke of Travelers Group Inc.'s planned purchase of Salomon Inc.
Bankers Trust, rumored a week ago to be the apple of Travelers' eye, dropped 87.5 cents to $122.313 on a day when most bank stocks were sluggish but still outperformed the market.
The Standard & Poor's bank index fell 0.03% and the Nasdaq bank index fell 0.02%. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.79%, and the S&P 500 fell 0.78%.
"Banker's Trust is down when the rest of the world is up," said Lawrence W. Cohn, research director for Ryan, Beck & Co., Livingston, N.J.
A report last Thursday that Bankers Trust would merge with Travelers sent the bank's share price skyrocketing over 12% to $133.625. The report was "nonsense," Mr. Cohn said.
"Those people who had hoped to make a buck on Bankers are leaving to go elsewhere," he said. "The takeover speculation that was in this stock is largely out."
But another veteran analyst suggested the stock should have retreated further under the circumstances. George M. Salem of Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co., New York, said some investors are apparently still gambling that Bankers Trust remains "an attractive acquisition target despite management's strong statement to the contrary."
"The stock should have gone down more," Mr. Salem said. "Investors seem to be acting irrationally."
Meanwhile, shares of Donaldson, Lukfin & Jenrette Securities Corp., Lehman Brothers Holding Inc., and other appealing brokerage firm targets leaped after the Travelers-Salomon deal was unveiled.
Donaldson Lukfin jumped $2.125 to $66.0625, while Lehman Brothers rose 75 cents to $49.37. Others that saw their stock prices rise yesterday were PaineWebber Group Inc., up $1.50 to $44.125, and Merrill Lynch & Co. up $1 to $71.5625.
"Each time one gets taken out, the list of potential candidates shrinks," Mr. Cohn said. "Their value is enhanced."
Elsewhere in the bank stock market, Mr. Salem raised his target price for BankAmerica Corp. to $90 from $85 and affirmed his "buy" rating on the stock.
Investors appreciate Bank-America's shunning of the megamerger path to expansion in favor of "an internally focused strategy," he said. The company has divested money-losing businesses, improved customer service, managed risk and capital well, and made small acquisitions, he noted.
BankAmerica is also picking up customers, leaving Wells Fargo & Co. after its merger with First Interstate Bancorp, Mr. Salem said. He projected third-quarter earnings of $1.10 per share, up 17% from a year earlier. Its stock dropped slightly, 87.5 cents to $73.063.
Analyst Steven R. Schroll of Piper Jaffray Inc., Minneapolis, upped KeyCorp's rating to "strong buy" from "buy" because it has "finally finished" laying the groundwork for its future. He raised his 1997 earnings estimate to $4.18, from $4.10, and his 1998 estimate to $4.70, from $4.65.
An earnings boost should result from its focus on four profitable business lines-national consumer finance, corporate banking, community banking, and financial services-and deemphasis of less profitable businesses, such as first mortgages and prime direct auto loans, he said.
KeyCorp's stock dropped 50 cents to $63.125.