Best of the Brokers for 26 October 2015

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Analysts at Numis have reiterated a “hold” rating for Home Retail Group, despite interim results coming in ahead of expectations. Continuing difficulties at Argos, where profit is significantly skewed to the second half, has held the group back. Analysts said the earnings outlook for Argos was increasingly fragile. “We would continue to avoid the shares despite the (apparently) modest valuation,” the broker added.

Jefferies have maintained a “buy” rating for pharmaceuticals company Shire, following a strong third quarter. According to Jefferies, earnings per share (EPS) were well ahead of estimates, at $3.24. However, full-year guidance is reiterated despite the stronger third-quarter profits, with the current consensus for sales and EPS broadly similar to the management’s guidance.

Ithaca Energy’s “buy” rating has been reiterated by FinnCap with a share target price of 77p, on a current 46.80p price. According to FinnCap, Ithaca has a strategy built for an oil price of $50 per barrel and recent investment in the company from Israeli conglomerate Delek Group is an endorsement of Ithaca’s strategy. Delek has acquired a 19.9 per cent interest in Ithaca for 53p per share, a 19 per cent premium to the previous day’s close.