BANKING & FINANCE
First Bank to Plead Its Merger Case: Top executives of Minneapolis-based First Bank System Inc. have scheduled a conference with banking analysts in New York today to support their proposed friendly merger with First Interstate Bancorp. Wells Fargo & Co. held a similar session Monday to tout its revised hostile bid for First Interstate. First Interstate stock was up $1.125 to $133.125 Thursday; Wells gained 25 cents to $209.375, and First Bank slipped 25 cents to $52.25, all in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. At those prices, the value of Wells’ offer to First Interstate shareholders would be $139.58 a share and First Bank’s, $135.85.