State Street Corp. got a boost Friday when US Bancorp Piper Jaffray upgraded the fund giant’s stock to "market perform" from "underperform," directly citing the company’s recent announcement that it would be laying off 1,800 workers.

In the report, US Bancorp said that it views the layoffs as a sign of progress that State Street will be able to address challenging marketing conditions. While it expects conditions to remain difficult, the firm is addressing the situation with aggressive expense management.

Additionally, US Bancorp raised both its 2003 and 2004 earnings estimates and said it is now more comfortable with the company’s current price-to-earnings ratio. State Street also said last week that it expects to expand its back-office services beyond its existing customer base of seven.

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