BEST OF THE BROKERS

ITV
Nomura rates the media group “buy” with a 115p target price. The broker notes recent press coverage claiming that Simon Cowell might not appear in the X Factor until the final show of the next series, but argues that the show might not suffer severely as a result. It points to the American Idol series, which lost 12 per cent of its audience after Cowell left. Nomura predicts a worst-case drop of five per cent in advertising revenue if he quits.

NATIONAL GRID
JP Morgan Cazenove rates the energy group “overweight” with a target price of 610p. The broker says it is reassured by a recent meeting with the president of National Grid US, who is focusing on improving the branch’s performance through $200m cost cuts and a better cost allocation process. JPM expects strong results on 19 May, and has predicted earnings per share of 50.9p – around three per cent ahead of consensus estimates.

TESCO
Jefferies rates the supermarket “hold” with a target price of 450p. The broker expects Tesco to report solid results next week, the firm’s first set of full-year figures since new chief executive Philip Clarke joined. It expects five per cent underlying growth in the UK, compared to growth of up to 20 per cent growth overseas, and some indication of Clarke’s plans for the firm.