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Merrill Upgrades Intel to 'Buy'

Merrill Lynch upgraded Intel (INTC) to buy from neutral.

Analyst Joseph Osha says the Street has underestimated improvement in gross margin that Intel should realize over the coming six to eight quarters. Osha notes better average selling prices should continue to flow as a result from a shift toward mobile machines, where Intel sees better pricing, and a shift toward higher-priced Pentium M processors within the mobile segment.

Also, Osha thinks Intel has been able to price less aggressively in the desktop-processor business as Advanced Micro has continued to struggle. He notes declining depreciation, and an accelerating shift to 300mm wafers, should drive margin up as well. Osha set a $29 target.

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