Merrill Lynch upgraded Sunoco (SUN) shares to near-term accummulate and long-term buy.
Analyst Andrew Fairbanks says the Tosco acquisition validates his view that refiners should be valued at greater than 10 times their forward estimates. He thinks the loss of Tosco as a public equity will create a higher scarcity factor for remaining independent franchises. Fairbanks believes the market is beginning to recognize refiners as unique, valuable enterprises. He says industry fundamentals and refiners' earnings will be very strong through 2001 and 2002. Fairbanks has positive opinions on all refiners under his coverage. He also upgraded Ultramar Diamond Shamrock and Valero Energy.