BEST OF THE BROKERS

RANDGOLD RESOURCES
Societe Generale has started covering the miner with a “sell” rating and a 12-month target price of £34. The broker thinks Randgold is facing a host of operational, political, fiscal and macroeconomic headwinds. It believes that the firm’s expansion at some of its mines is likely to be delayed further by political instability, and adds that rising gold prices can only go so far to offset the soaring cost of fuel.

3I GROUP
Evolution Securities rates the private equity house “add” with a target price of 370p. The broker thinks recent market weakness could dampen the firm’s expected net asset value ahead of its pre-close update due on Friday. Evolution believes that the market must improve before value opportunities at 3i are crystallised, though the stock currently looks cheap on an absolute basis, it says.

AUTONOMY
Peel Hunt rates the software firm “sell” and has cut its target price by £1 to £13. The broker estimates that underlying profit at the firm has shrunk during the year to March, after it missed fourth-quarter targets by around 10 per cent, but thinks the company is still being valued in the market as a growth stock. It adds that margins have been hit by higher sales and marketing costs and rising levels of bad debt.