Thursday, May 24, 2007

Credit Suisse Downgrade Of Dow Chemical (DOW): Nonsensical

NEW YORK, May 23 Analysts at Credit Suisse downgrade The Dow Chemical Co (DOW) from "outperform" to "neutral." The target price is set to $50. In a research report, the analyst Mark Connelly wrote that he likes Dow's strategy, but sees only moderate upside after speculators recently drove up shares on buyout rumors. He has a $50 price target on the stock, up from $49. He also downgraded the overall major chemicals industry to "Underweight" from "Overweight" on expectations of slowing demand growth. This does not make sense. If you used his numbers, over the next 12 months DOW will return an almost 15% gain to shareholders when you add the 11% share price increasehe expects and the almost 4% dividend DOW will pay to shareholders. How is that bad?

What is it going to "under perform""? The market? Does he think the The Ratings For Sectors

Overweight: Industry expected to outperform the relevant broad market benchmark over the next 12 months.
Market Weight: Industry expected to perform in-line with the relevant broad market benchmark over the next 12 months.
Underweight: Industry expected to underperform the relevant broad market benchmark over the next 12months

Now the Individual Company Ratings

Outperform: The stock’s total return is expected to exceed the industry average* by at least 10-15% (or more, depending on perceived risk) over the next 12 months.
Neutral: The stock’s total return is expected to be in line with the industry average* (range of ±10%) over the next 12 months.
Underperform**: The stock’s total return is expected to underperform the industry average* by 10-15% or more over the next 12 months.

So what do we have? The Chemical sector being downgraded to "under perform" means that is will lag the S&P in 2007. Dow's neutral rating means that is will match that performance plus or minus 10%. Some math is now necessary. Let's say S%P advances 10% in 2007. This guy is right and the chemical sector "under performs" and only advances 8%. That means that Dow's neutral rating means that shares will be between $44 and $53 from their current $45. The more the sector lags the market, the more the downside risk. If the chemical sector only advances 1% in 2007, his expectation is shares will trade between $41 to $50.

Here is the best part: "In an effort to achieve a more balanced distribution of stock ratings, the Firm has requested that analysts maintain at least 15% of their rated coverage universe as Underperform. This guideline is subject to change depending on several factors, including general market conditions."

Translation? "We have to put a certain number of firm in a category whether they warrant it or not. A depending what the market does, if we are going to look foolish we reserve the right to arbitrarily change that."

Is anyone getting where i am going with this? He has no idea where shares are going to trade..

Please ignore them...

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