BEST OF THE BROKERS

PRUDENTIAL
Nomura rates the insurer “reduce” with a target price of 735p. The broker thinks the Pru’s valuation could be called into question by the expected sales slowdown in the States, and believes the market is currently underestimating the firm’s exposure to the US market. Nomura recommends switching to AXA, which is forecast to return to growth this year on the strength of its Asian business.

MITIE
Credit Suisse has upgraded the outsourcing group to “neutral” and has raised its target price by almost 27p to 240p. Mitie’s results earlier in the week showed better-than-expected margins and a focus on organic growth rather than acquisitions. Credit Suisse thinks the stock is not expensive at 9.6 times 2012 earnings, though expects the company to remain at a discount to the rest of the outsourcing sector.

ANTOFAGASTA
Morgan Stanley has upgraded the copper miner to “equalweight” with a target price of £12.60. The broker has kept rival Kazakhmys as its top pick as it has lower costs, but thinks both firms’ share prices could rocket as the market shifts to looking at growth stocks amid the volatility of the copper price. Antofagasta’s share price has fallen 25 per cent since January but some of its growth ratings have risen 22 per cent, Morgan Stanley adds.