Intel & American Express Downgrades Hurting the DJIA (INTC, AXP, MER)

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Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) shares are trading down about 1.7% in very earlybird trading this Friday.  The bulge bracket brokerage firm Merrill Lynch has downgraded the processor giant shares from a "Buy" rating down to the beloved "Neutral."  First and foremost, this downgrade looks like a transition in coverage inside the brokerage firm.  It says it expects Intel to benefit from a healthy PC demand, but notes that at 18-times CY2008 EPS that it is at the high-end of its recent valuation range.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) was also downgraded at Merrill Lynch from a "Buy" rating to a "Neutral."  2008 EPS were cut to $3.85 from $3.96 and even 2009 cut to $4.20 from $4.33.

Ironically, this downgrade that includes American Express is having a share indication impact on Merrill Lynch’s own share price.  There have not been trades yet that crossed the tape pre-market, but indications have the stock around $74.00 to $74.60, versus the $75.14 close yesterday. 

Sometimes butchers do cut their fingers off if they take too wide of a cut.

Jon C. Ogg
September 14, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he produces the 24/7 Wall St. Special Situation Investing Newsletter and he does not own securities in the companies he covers.