BEST OF THE BROKERS

ITV
Morgan Stanley has cut the broadcaster from “overweight” to “equalweight” and has lowered its target price by 25p to 75p following results on Wednesday. The broker has reduced its advertising forecasts for 2011 from three per cent growth to 1.1 per cent contraction, and warns that all revenue drops will filter through to ITV’s bottom line, given its high operational gearing.

ASTRAZENECA
UBS has upgraded the pharmaceutical group to “buy” with a new target price of £38, up from £32.50 previously. The firm has replaced rival GlaxoSmithKline on the broker’s key call list, ahead of a regulatory decision in July on AstraZeneca’s heart drug Brilinta. If the drug is given the green light, sales outside of the US could generate $4bn a year by 2015, making up 10 to 15 per cent of earnings per share, UBS estimates.

TATE & LYLE
Citigroup rates the food group “hold / medium risk” and has raised its target by 25p to 625p ahead of full-year results on 27 May. The broker forecasts an operating profit of £315m and a 23.6p dividend. Citi has also raised its earnings forecasts for 2012 following the recent rally in corn prices leading to higher by-product prices, but notes that this windfall profit could disappear if the soft commodity market turns.