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BEST OF THE BROKERS

ASTRAZENECA
Panmure reiterates its “buy” stance on AstraZeneca saying the company’s emerging markets review was comprehensive and makes Panmure more comfortable in its investment thesis. It highlights the key guidance as AstraZeneca’s assertion that it would attain some 25 per cent of its revenues from emerging markets by 2014. This calculation alone justifies a “buy” rating on the drugmaker, according to Panmure.

MAN GROUP
Numis Securities has moved its recommendation on Man Group from “buy” to “add” after reducing its target price from 300p to 285p. Numis believes the market may be disappointed with the further decline in assets under management during the fourth quarter which may lead to downgrades and put pressure on the share price in the near term. It does not advocate buying ahead of Man Group’s update on the 24 March.

MARKS & SPENCER
JP Morgan Cazenove gives Marks & Spencer (M&S) an “underweight” rating noting the retailer traded at modest premiums to its peers on expectations of new management and a potential recovery back to 2008 peaks, which was 50 per cent above likely full-year 2010 outcome. JP Morgan says valuations are modest across the sector so the downside may be limited – but it expects M&S to lag behind other retail majors.