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Merrill adjusts chemicals ratings

Merrill Lynch said in September that it had taken a more defensive stance on the European chemicals industry and adjusted recommendations in the sector, including an upgrade to Britain“s BOC Group Pl…

Merrill Lynch said in September that it had taken a more defensive stance on the European chemicals industry and adjusted recommendations in the sector, including an upgrade to Britain“s BOC Group Plc. Merrill upgraded its ratings on BOC, Air Liquide , Akzo Nobel and Lonza to “accumulate” from “neutral.” The broker downgraded ICI , BASF and DSM to “neutral” from “accumulate.” Merrill said it had maintained a “neutral” stance on the sector, but it downgraded its estimates across the sector by 2-10%. It said the cut was due to the uncertain reaction of US consumers to the attacks on September 11, the spread of the economic slowdown to Europe and Asia and the possibility of an oil price spike.

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