Stock prices of leading Washington area banks rose 5 percent last year but institutions based in D.C. out performed those in Maryland and Viginia, advancing nearly 10 percent or twice the areawide average.
According to the Washington investment firm of Johntson, Lemon & Co., the D.C. banks gains were due primarily to an above average 16.8 percent increase for the year. Earnings gains for Maryland banks averaged 11.6 percent and, for Virginia institutions, 12.8 percent.
In an annual study produced by Johntson, Lemon, the brokerage firm surveyed 28 regional banking firms. None of the banks showed significant declines in stock prices and all showed increased profitability. First-quarter 1978 results also showed higher earnings for most of the banks.
"Generally, bank stocks continue to offer above-average dividend yields, and sell at discounts from book value and less than 7 1/2 times 1977 earnings per share," noted Johntson, Lemon's Henley Custus Hoge IV.
But Hoge had a warning related to the current cycle of soaring interest rates. He said Johntson, Lemon officials believe banks should plan for "credit crunch troubles over the next three to six months."
Copies of the report, "1977 Comparative Data on Major Banks and Trust Companies and Bank Holding Companies," are available from Johntson, Lemon, whose headquarters are in the Southern Building in downtown Washington.