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Bank One (ONE ): Reiterates 4 STARS (accumulate)
Analyst: Mark Morgan

Bank One reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of 82 cents, before 5 cents of one-time gains, vs. 72 cents -- above S&P's 79 cents estimate. The financial-services company cited continued strength in retail banking and credit-card lending, and further improvements in commercial-loan quality. Also, the net interest margin expanded 5 basis points from the third quarter. S&P is maintaining the 2004 earnings per share estimate of $3.30.

S&P expects J.P. Morgan to close its acquisition of Bank One in the second quarter, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. (J.P. Morgan offered to buy the company in a $60 billion deal, prompting S&P to upgrade both companies to 4 STARS (accumulate), from 2 STARS (avoid), on January 15. S&P's 12-month target price for Bank One is $58, based on the deal conversion ratio of 1.32 shares to S&P's target price for J.P. Morgan of $44.
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