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Brown, Price stocks jump Takeover speculation hovering over firms leads to record highs


Shares of Alex. Brown Inc. and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. soared to record highs yesterday despite an uneventful session on Wall Street.

Alex. Brown's stock jumped $2.625 a share to close at a new high for the year of $69.375. The stock has climbed more than $6 a share, or 9.9 percent, since closing at $63.125 Friday.

T. Rowe Price's stock closed at a record $40.25, up $2 a share. Its stock is up more than $3 a share, or 8.4 percent, since closing at $37.125 Friday.

A. B. "Buzzy" Krongard, chairman and chief executive of Alex. Brown, declined to speculate on the sharp jump in price of the Baltimore-based investment banking and brokerage company's stock.

"We don't comment on our stock price," he said. "I have no idea."

An analyst, who asked not to be identified, said Alex. Brown's stock is simply "catching up" with the group of brokerage companies.

Yesterday, securities traders said the shares rose on speculation that the firm will be bought, according to a report by Bloomberg Business News.

There have been rumors for more than a year that Alex. Brown is an acquisition target. Rumors swirled last year that the company was in merger talks with London-based National Westminster PLC, and Deutsche Bank AG of Germany.

The company has consistently said it wants to remain independent.

Steven E. Norwitz, a spokesman for Price, said he couldn't explain the surge in the Baltimore mutual fund company's stock price.

"We have had no news announcement that would explain the TC sharp rise in the stock price other than that it is just market activity," he said. Price also has been the subject of takeover speculation. Its stock jumped 5.3 percent, or $1.875 a share, Friday on a report that a large, unidentified New York bank could offer $80 a share for the Baltimore mutual fund company.

"What has driven it for the last couple of days, I would think that is takeover speculation," said Bruce Brewington, an equity analyst with Putnam Lovell & Thornton, a San Francisco-based investment banking. "Fundamentally. T. Rowe is a strong and valued franchise."

Norwitz said he wasn't sure if takeover speculation has been a factor in the stock's rise.

Legg Mason Inc.'s shares remained unchanged at $37.75 a share. The stock is down from a high for the year of $39.125, set Nov. 25.

Pub Date: 12/11/96

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