BEST OF THE BROKERS

SCOR
Societe Generale has upgraded its outlook on the global reinsurance company from neutral to “buy” following its acquisition of Aegon’s Transamerica reinsurance unit. Though the broker sees a short-term negative impact, with 2011 estimates revised down by seven per cent and earnings per share revenues for 2012-13 down by 13-14 per cent. But it raises SCOR’s target price by €1.5 to €23.

SPEEDY HIRE
Evolution Securities maintains its “buy” rating on the tool hire group, saying that the disposal of its accommodation hire business to Elliott Group leaves Speedy free to focus on sectors with strong recovery prospects. The loss-making unit was sold for £34.9m, and without its assumed losses the broker’s pre-tax profits forecast moves up to £12m. The target price of 36p remains unchanged.

WILLIAM HILL
UBS maintains its anti-consensual “buy” rating on the bookmaker, believing structural concerns in over-the-counter wagering are over-played, and that the bookies’ online business is continuing to outperform its peers. The broker says the company’s first-quarter update was stronger than expected, and sees consensus estimates as conservative for 2011. It has increased its target price to 255p from 205p.