BEST OF THE BROKERS

CLOSE BROTHERS
UBS rates the merchant bank “neutral” with a 12-month target price of 700p, down from 780p. The broker notes that market levels have dropped materially since the firm’s last update in July, and has cut its 2012 estimates by 11 per cent. UBS is cautious about the outlook for equity volumes, corresponding to a five per cent fall in the firm’s operating profits. The broker also expects a lower rate of improvement in credit quality.

ASHMORE
JP Morgan rates the industrial group “neutral” with a target price of 410p. The broker says Ashmore’s preliminary results were in line with estimates, and that performance since the year-end has been reasonable. However, it has trimmed some forecasts for performance fees and operating margins. Overall, JP Morgan thinks Ashmore deserves its premium to the rest of the sector, given the growth potential for its operations in emerging markets.

ACCOR
Deutsche Bank rates the global hotel manager a “buy” with a target price of €37. The broker thinks yesterday’s investor day was a crucial time for the firm to set out its strategy, and that the results were largely impressive. The company’s new EBIT forecast of €510m-€520m for the year was in line with Deutsche’s expectations, though below consensus forecasts, and the asset reshuffle seems a sensible way to improve returns.