BEST OF THE BROKERS

WPP
Citi rates the marketing group “buy /medium risk” with a target price of 950p. The broker has downgraded its 2011-12 forecasts by one to three per cent thanks to currency movements, but still expects organic growth of 5.6 per cent this year once the firm gets through the traditional “mid-year doldrums”. Citi says WPP remains a cheap play on global advertising strength, though believes rival Publicis has more short-term catalysts.

AMEC
Evolution Securities has downgraded the energy services firm to “add” from “buy” with a target price of £13.50. The broker expects delays to UK plans to build 11 new nuclear reactors over the next 15 years in the wake of the Japanese earthquake, hammering AMEC’s nuclear expansion. However, Evo adds that nuclear power only accounted for nine per cent of AMEC sector revenue in 2010 and that the shares remain good value.

ASHMORE
Peel Hunt rates the investment manager “buy” with a target price of 410p. The broker thinks Ashmore’s recent expansion into emerging markets is a sensible long-term move, though expects immediate benefits to be modest. Peel Hunt has kept its 2011 forecasts unchanged, but has hiked its 2012 earnings per share forecast by five per cent to 28.8p, supported by the firm’s purchase of a stake in Emerging Markets Management.