An influential analyst raised his rating of Washington Mutual Inc.'s stock, citing a recent price decline, a month after he had downgraded it.
Jonathan Gray of Sanford C. Bernstein raised his rating on the thrift company's stock back to "outperform," from "market perform," last week.
Mr. Gray had cut his rating on the stock in late July, arguing that Washington Mutual's acquisition of Great Western Financial Corp. had failed to produce any cost savings.
Mr. Gray said last week that he was still "very disappointed in the lack of cost cutting at Great Western." For example, he said, a year ago Great Western had planned to reduce its 20,100-person work force by 2,850. So far, he said, the head count has declined only 400, to 19,700.
But, he said, "the stock has declined fairly substantially in the last four to five weeks. It got to the point where on a value basis it was cheap."
Last Tuesday morning, when Mr. Gray sent the research note to clients, Wamu was trading at $32, down from $39.625 in late July. It was trading at 31.125 Friday afternoon. Mr. Gray added that the global economic turmoil that has spooked the overall stock market lately should not be a concern for Wamu shareholders, because the Seattle thrift has no direct international exposure.