Here are the biggest analyst calls of the day: Merck, Intel, Dow & more

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A visitor at Intel’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Day walks past a signboard during the event in Bangalore, India

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Here are the biggest calls on Wall Street on Friday:

Bank of America downgraded Dow Inc. to ‘underperform’ from ‘neutral’

Bank of America said it downgraded the chemical company due to global demand forecasts “downshifting” among other things.

“With global demand forecasts downshifting, and the outlook increasingly uncertain, we are cutting estimates and lowering valuation multiples for our commodity exposed coverage (DOW, LYB, OLN, and WLK) from 7x to 6x 2020E EBITDA multiples. We do continue to hold a favorable relative view on the long term supply for caustic soda over polyethylene, but see these commodities driven in the near-term by sluggish demand. “

Leerink initiated Merck as ‘outperform’

Leerink said its rating on Merck was based on optimism about expanded uses for the cancer drug Keytruda, among other factors.

“We believe investors underappreciate the potential for: long-term, diverse Keytruda revenues that will come with expansion into earlier lines and additional tumor types (and not from pricing increases); return from MRK’s aggressive strategy to explore (collaborations) and then pursue (partnerships, acquisitions) promising Keytruda add-on approaches to extend Keytruda’s competitive moat and lifecycle beyond patentlife.”

Stephens upgraded Brinker to ‘overweight’ from ‘equal weight’

Stephens said restaurant hospitality company, Brinker, had a risk/reward that was “too attractive to ignore.”

“Chili’s has consistently outpaced the industry in recent quarters, with a highlight of 380 bps of FY19 traffic outperformance. However, the market has remained skeptical that the brand can successfully lap FY19 and hit recently-issued FY20 guidance, as the stock is down 16% YTD and trades at 6.7x CY20 EBITDA and 8.4x CY20 EPS with a 4% div. yield. We’re becoming comfortable that Chili’s recent sales drivers (3 for $10, off-premise) are multi-year platforms that, along with more effectively using EAT’s scale, can help produce above-industry results for a sustained period.”

Loop Capital upgraded TJX Companies to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’

Loop said off-price retailers are a good “defensive option.”

“Our model changes reflect the market share gains from department and specialty stores we believe are continuing. Our recent round of store checks in the East and West regions for all three companies revealed improving brand availability, attractive assortments, and healthy traffic trends with lines at the registers even in the middle of week days. We’re raising near-term estimates for TJX and Burlington and increasing our out-year projections for Ross. “

Northland Capital Markets upgraded Intel to ‘market perform’ from ‘underperform’

Northland said in its upgrade of the chipmaker that it thinks sentiment is nearing a “low point.”

“1) Shares our trading below our PT. 2) Shares are trading at 11.5x our below consensus CY20 estimates. 3) Negative AMD server launch catalyst is in the rear view mirror. 4) INTC beat Q2 by $900M and $0.17, but only increased CY19 estimates by $500M and $0.05. 5) We think value stocks likely outperform higher multiple stocks during sell offs. 6) Sentiment nearing a low point.As such upgrading to MP. “

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