Best of the Brokers for 20 February 2013

STANDARD CHARTERED

Shares in the bank rose 2.3 per cent as analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded it from “equal weight” to “overweight” and upped its target price from 1656p to 1924p. Morgan Stanley said it was “switching our preference from HSBC to Standard Chartered due to the improvement in the Asian economic environment (a positive for Standard Chartered’s asset quality outlook)”.

LADBROKES

Investec upgraded the bookie from a “hold” to a “buy” recommendation yesterday on an improving outlook for the company’s online operation, which has struggled against the likes of William Hill, ahead of Ladbrokes’ results tomorrow. “Ladbrokes should be putting the delay in its sportsbook relaunch behind it,” Investec’s James Hollins said, upgrading the company’s target price from 165p to 250p.

BRITVIC

Nomura has resumed coverage of the soft drinks company with a “buy” rating, based on positive recent results, strong progress in the US, and potential synergies if it is able to complete its merger with AG Barr, which is being probed by the Competition Commission. Nomura puts a target price of 480p on the stock, despite only seeing the merger’s chances at 30 per cent.