Funds News

UPDATE 1-Ladenburg's Bove cuts Wachovia price target to $17

(New throughout, adds share movement)

July 10 (Reuters) - Ladenburg Thalmann analyst Richard Bove cut his price target on Wachovia Corp WB.N by $2 to $17 on Thursday, a day after the company named a senior Treasury Department official chief executive and forecast a second-quarter loss wider than many analysts' expectations.

Wachovia, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, on Wednesday named Robert Steel CEO and forecast a quarterly loss of $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion due to mortgage and legal problems.

Analyst Bove reversed his 2008 estimate for Wachovia to a loss of 23 cents a share from his prior profit view of 69 cents a share. However, he increased his profit expectation for 2009 to $2.77 from $2.60 a share.

“He (Steel) must turn around a company that has difficulties in many areas,” Bove wrote in a note to clients.

The analyst maintained a “neutral” rating on the stock.

He expressed hope that Steel could help Wachovia to be bought by larger peer Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N, where Steel worked prior to his appointment to the Treasury Department.

Wachovia shares were trading up 61 cents at $14.90 before the bell. They closed at $14.29 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Varsha Tickoo in Bangalore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)