Best of the Brokers for 30 May 2013

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Espirito Santo downgrades Halfords Group to “neutral” from “buy” and cuts its final value from 350p to 305p citing its recent preliminary results and strategy review. Espirito says Halford’s target of £1bn in sales by the end of 2016 is “ambitious” and says that ultimately Halfords “is likely to be a lower margin and returns business”. Long-term it does not expect the shares to see a material re-rating.

UBS reaffirmed its “neutral” rating for the building materials group and upgraded its price target to 3,600p from 3,270p ahead of quarterly results next week. The broker’s upgrade follows a significant re-rating of its industry peers but it sees the firm’s current valuations as relatively high compared to past valuations. UBS expects a seasonally weak third quarter weighed down by European operations.

Numis reiterates its “buy rating” and 2,810p target price for Aveva following its recent results. It expects upgrades to earnings per share and highlights the 146p per share special dividend and the over 30 per cent growth from Enterprise Solutions as key positives. “Upgrades, capital discipline, strong AES performance, opportunity from E3D and market re-rating underpin our recently upgraded target price,” it says.