BEST OF THE BROKERS

ASOS
JP Morgan rates the online retailer “neutral” but has raised its target price from £13.20 to £19. The broker was pleasantly surprised by ASOS’s sale growth in the last three months of the financial year, which more than offset extra investment in promotional offers. JP Morgan thinks the rise in expenditure is already paying off in sales transactions, though a slowdown in international markets could give cause for concern down the line, it says.

HIGHTEX
Numis says the construction materials specialist’s problem has been that following three contract wins worth an aggregate €45.3m (£40.1m) in 2009, the firm has failed to clinch any major deals. However, it says that given the prospect for multiple contract wins, Hightex's fortunes could still revive dramatically. Hightex’s pipeline of near term prospects, worth an aggregate €140m, justifies Numis’ renewed “buy” stance, it says.

TESCO
Evolution expects lacklustre results next week, with underlying UK like-for-likes expected to be negative in the second half. It says international performance is likely to have been better in Asia, as highlighted in December’s analyst trip, but more mixed in Europe, where Evo expects Ireland to have been particularly tough. Given Tesco’s reliance on a difficult UK market, the broker sees little room for positive surprise and rates the firm “sell”.