Best of the Brokers for 3 June 2013

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UBS has ditched its “sell” rating and turned into a “buyer” of the retailer, while hiking its 12-month target price from 280p to 375p. The broker sees Halfords’ earnings bottoming out next year, and reckons the firm’s investment and recovery plan is more drastic than expected. However, UBS expects earnings to improve ahead of the rest of the sector from 2015.

Panmure Gordon retains its “sell” rating on the heating and plumbing group and a price target of 2,500p ahead of third quarter results due tomorrow. The broker is braced for an unpleasant surprise in Wolseley’s European arm, which it expects to suffer in the ongoing economic uncertainty. Even though the firm’s American unit looks promising in the medium term, Panmure advises investors to lock in profits.

Canaccord Genuity keeps its “buy” recommendation and March 2014 price target of 1,320p for the financial services group following a presentation from the company’s banking division. The broker thinks Close Brothers’ management team is sensibly focused on sticking to lending principles to shore up profitability, rather than simply increasing the size of its loan book.