Most analysts think more consolidation is coming in the banking industry. JP Morgan (JPM) is reportedly reviewing a number of possible deals, including Wachovia (WB) and Washington Mutual (WM). Merrill likes the sound of the former.
Merrill has upgraded Wachovia (WB) to NEUTRAL and believes WB is a “good fit” for JP Morgan (JPM). Merrill sees a possible acquisition of WB by JPM for between $16-$20/share. WB currently sits just below that range.
Also contributing to the WB upgrade was Merrill’s belief that “credit headwinds” are sufficiently priced into the stock.
Merrill Lynch upgraded Wachovia (WB) from Underperform to NEUTRAL.