Updated from 3:36 p.m.

Shares of Countrywide Financial ( CFC) rose 4% in furious trading Friday afternoon on speculation that it could be the next target of the always acquisitive Bank of America ( BAC).

The nation's second-largest bank and the California mortgage lender were in preliminary talks, according to a report Friday in the Financial Times.The salmon-colored paper cautioned that talks may not lead to any deal. It put the value of the possible buyout at around $30 billion.

Bank of America didn't comment. Countrywide didn't comment.

BofA is no stranger to large deals. In 2004, it purchased FleetBoston Financial for $48 billion. Last year it paid $34 billion for credit card issuer MBNA.

Meanwhile, talk has been swirling around Countrywide as the nation's housing markets give back some of the gains they've made in recent years.

Countrywide is the largest originator of U.S. residential mortgages, with 15% market share. Bank of America is No. 6, with roughly 5% market share. In a recent conference call, Bank of America said it was likely to consider so-called disruptive strategies in mortgages, as it has with low-cost online trading, RealMoney.com contributer Joe Capone wrote in November. RealMoney.com is the investing-ideas sister site of TheStreet.com.

Countrywide itself has spoken of possible acquisition opportunities.

"We do not do anything large, but with what is happening with consolidation of the industry and all aspects of the industry we believe there are some opportunities out there and in particular in the capital markets area," CEO Angelo Mozilo said on the third-quarter earnings call back in October.

Shares of BofA fell 36 cents to $52.04. Countrwide surged $1.71 to $42 after earlier setting a 52-week high at $45.26.

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