BEST OF THE BROKERS

NATIONAL GRID
JP Morgan Cazenove considers the Ofgem decision on the framework for the next transmission and gas distribution to be a friendly move for National Grid’s shareholders. The broker gives the energy giant a “neutral” rating and says the new finance director may offer a fresh look at the financing challenges facing National Grid given the potential size of its UK capital expenditure programme.

ASOS
Goldman Sachs revises its price targets for online retailer, ASOS, and gives the stock a “conviction buy” rating. The broker increases its six-month price target from 1,350p to 1,700p on five-year second-stage revenue growth assumption of 10 per cent. The broker believes that ASOS is well-positioned within a fast-growing industry and as it continues to deliver strong sales, there is scope for further share price outperformance.

AXA
AXA has been a significant laggard this year, particularly against its closest peers, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It has underperformed Aviva, Allianz and ZFS, which the broker views as unusual, but retains a “buy” rating. Slowdown in growth and no new strategic news have made AXA’s stock lose its historical lustre, says the broker which believes, however, that these issues are factored into its €19 price.