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Prudential Keeps Accumulate Opinion on Merrill Lynch

Financial services powerhouse Merrill Lynch (MER) reported Q4 earnings per share of $0.93. Prudential Securities rates the shares accumulate.

Analyst Eva Radtke says she expects the stock and the financial services group to react positively to Merrill's numbers. She cites the firm's higher than expected investment banking revenue and higher underwriting revenue. According to Radtke, Merrill's margin improvement initiatives look to be gaining traction. She believes the company's new client assets of $38B should be percieved very positively.

The analyst says Merrill has made great progress this year in shifting client assets from transaction- based accounts to asset-based accounts, which should serve to smooth out its revenue streams. That, she notes, is particularly important in periods of adverse market conditions.

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