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National Commerce Up on Buyout Report

The bank's cryptic statement sheds little light on the situation.

Shares of Tennessee-based lender

National Commerce Financial


soared Friday on speculation that two big regional banks are vying for its affection.

The stock, in early trading, rose $4.10, or 14.6%, to $32.90 after the

Financial Times


The Wall Street Journal

reported that


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Fifth Third

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may be competing to buy National Commerce.

In response to news reports, National Commerce issued a cryptic statement in which it said it is in the "process of undertaking a comprehensive review of its strategic alternatives, including the possibility of remaining independent."

National Commerce is just one of many small regional banks that have seen their stocks rise and fall in the wake of a number of bank deals this year. The latest bank acquisition to fan the buyout guessing game was

Royal Bank of Scotland's

$10.5 billion bid for

Charter One

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earlier this week.

The Memphis-based bank with $23 billion in assets is one in a long list of regional lenders that has been the subject of buyout speculation.

But many banking industry experts and professional traders caution individual investors about getting snookered on buyout speculation since rumors and reports of the deals often fail to materialize.

In fact, media reports last year had Royal Bank of Scotland buying Philadelphia-based

Sovereign Bank


. While many observers thought Cleveland-based Charter One ultimately would get acquired, few had linked its name to Britain's second-largest bank.