Aug 19 (Reuters) - Veteran banking analyst Richard Bove raised his earnings estimates and price target for Northern Trust Corp (NTRS.O), citing the recent run-up in asset values and the bank's strong balance sheet. Rochdale Securities' Bove said Northern Trust, which has been benefiting from a number of one-time items, a factor that is likely to continue, had a balance sheet that "indicates a stability that no other major bank can match."
"Northern Trust's balance sheet is so strong it actually shames its competitors," Bove said in a note to clients, adding that the run-up in its asset values was expected to impact earnings in the third and fourth quarters. Bove said that Northern Trust, a bank catering to the wealthy and to institutional investors, reported a six-fold rise in non-performing assets, but its loan portfolio was not large enough to "derail" its earnings performance.
The analyst, who rates the bank's stock a "buy", raised his price target to $71 from $64.
He also increased his 2009 earnings estimate for Northern Trust to $3.14 from $2.40 a share.
Shares of the bank closed at $60.38 Tuesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan)