BEST OF THE BROKERS

SMITHS NEWS
Altium Securities rates the media distributor a “buy” with a target price of 143p. The broker says the firm’s 6.8 per cent dividend yield looks attractive, and that business developments in the pipeline will increase growth in the next 12 to 18 months. Altium has also raised its pre-tax profit forecasts following stronger than expected full year results last week.

DEBENHAMS
UBS rates the department store a “buy” with a 12-month target price of 90p. Lower debt levels and a commitment to restore the dividend next year means the traditional discount on Debenhams shares is likely to narrow, the broker believes. UBS has raised its full-year pre-tax profit forecast for 2013 by three per cent due to an increase in gross margins.


ARBUTHNOT
Numis has downgraded the banking group to “hold” from “buy” and cut its target price by 24 per cent to 367p. The broker has also reduced its 2010 pre-tax profit estimates to £4.9m from £7m due to a weaker-than-expected third quarter update. It believes Arbuthnot’s private banking arm is trading in line with forecasts, but its securities business currently has a weaker-than-expected performance.