"We're downgrading Intel from Outperform to Market Perform as we think shares now reflect a more balanced risk / reward," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a note.
Wells Fargo has a $60 price target on the stock, up from a prior target of $55, representing about 7.3% upside from Intel's closing price Thursday.
Intel shares fell 0.57% to close at $55.60 on Friday -- after briefly dipping below $55 in the morning.
Wells Fargo's call, the analysts said, also "reflects a more cautious view on current semi demand data points going into 1Q19 earnings, coupled with Intel's tough comps thru 2019." That view comes as many analysts and investors are calling rock bottom for semiconductor pricing.
"The cloud semi cycle has been in a downturn since 2Q18, but we believe we are around the bottom now," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note last month. Chip company Micron (MU - Get Report) shares have rebounded in 2019 much for that reason, up 31.6% year to date. The semiconductor industry has been in a supply glut as demand has turned sharply lower amid slowing global economic growth.
Part of Wells Fargo's caution on Intel is "driven by our belief that investor sentiment could become more tempered amid increasing visibility into AMD share gain [market share] momentum." AMD is slated to launch its "Rome" CPU chip by mid-year 2019, which its CEO, Lisa Su, said could deliver massive power to the devices it supplies.
Wells Fargo also said it sees accelerating depreciation expenses for Intel, which will pressure margins.
Intel shares have risen about 16% this year.
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