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BEST OF THE BROKERS

ICAP
Bank of America Merrill Lynch adds ICAP to its “Europe 1” buy list saying its current share price ignores the company’s strong portfolio of assets. Despite its revised earnings guidance for the third quarter, it believes its recent share price fall has been overdone. It notes half ICAP’s profits will come from electronic businesses this year, which are higher margin.

BLACKS LEISURE
Seymour Pierce reiterates its “outperform” rating on Blacks Leisure saying its £20.3m equity issue will provide greater stability, and speed up its return to profitability. “This looks to be one of the few credible retail restructuring stories,” it says. Also, it sees it as a potential acquisition target. It notes Christmas trading also looked “promising”.

VODAFONE
Barclays Capital upgrades Vodafone to “overweight”, citing its faster than expected revenue growth, and the fact it is closing in on rival Telefonica. It expects this outperformance to continue as Telefonica faces headwinds in Spain, Venezuela and Brazil. It sets a target price of 175p, implying 26 per cent potential upside from the current share price.