BEST OF THE BROKERS

ST JAMES’S PLACE
Morgan Stanley maintains the wealth management company’s “equal-weight” rating, with a 12-month target price of 408p. The move comes following solid interim results, with shares having performed very strongly relative to the broker’s year to date. With a focus on low capital intensity unit-linked products, no long-term debt and little on-balance sheet asset exposure, SJP has many defensive characteristics, the broker thinks.

NESTLE
Nomura has retained its “reduce” rating for the food and nutrition company, with a 12-month target price of 46CHF. The broker believes the moving parts for the group justify less than the current 15 times 2012 price-to-earnings valuation. The group’s decision to suspend the buyback of shares is prudent, providing opportunities to acquire operations that would enhance in value within the group, according to Nomura.

L’OREAL
Goldman Sachs has upgraded its rating of the cosmetics firm to “buy”, maintaining a 12-month target price of €106. L’Oreal has fallen one per cent on an absolute basis over the past six months, under performing the sector by 10 per cent. The broker adds the group to its Conviction Buy List, feeling current levels present a good opportunity to buy into a high-quality stock.