BEST OF THE BROKERS

CARREFOUR
Execution Noble issues a “sell” rating on the French grocer following its first-half results yesterday. The broker says some of Carrefour’s key markets are deteriorating, for example in Brazil, and that the firm’s new strategy in France will be critical to any recovery. Shares are trading at a six per cent premium to the sector..

NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE
Standard & Poor’s maintains a “strong sell” recommendation after the bank’s second quarter results. NBG’s pre-tax profit of €104m missed broker forecasts due to higher costs and credit losses, though revenues were in line. The broker says Greece’s macro instability paints a bleak medium-term outlook for margins.

SANOFI-AVENTIS
RBS rates the pharmaceutical company a “buy” with a target price of €58 (£48), but argues the firm has only limited room for manoeuvre following its initial takeover approach for US peer Genzyme. The broker says the purchase would give opportunities for considerable cost-cutting, but is less convinced of some production synergies.