BEST OF THE BROKERS

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL
RBS rates the oil group “buy” with a target price of £24 following the firm’s quarterly results last week. Shell’s net income was five per cent above the broker’s forecasts, mirroring BP’s strong performance earlier in the week. Only the upstream business fell short, coming in at two per cent below RBS production forecasts, thanks to bigger than expected maintenance work and start-up costs for oil and liquefied natural gas projects.

BARCLAYS
UBS rates the bank “neutral” and has cut its target price by 4p to 330p. The broker was disappointed by the bank’s sluggish improvement in net asset value, after strong earnings were offset by foreign exchange losses in quarterly results last week. UBS has lowered its revenue and cost forecasts for 2011 and now expects operating profits of £10.9bn for the year. It also expects earnings per share to dip 4.5 per cent to 2013.

WM MORRISON
Nomura rates the supermarket “buy” with a target price of 305p. The broker is bullish about the sector, and expects Morrisons to report like-for-like sales growth of 1.3 per cent, excluding petrol sales, when it reports quarterly figures on Thursday. Nomura is encouraged by the firm’s progress in taking up new space and selling through new formats, including a trial of convenience stores in affluent northern towns.