BEST OF THE BROKERS

COOKSON
UBS upgrades the materials science company from “sell” to “neutral” with an unchanged target price of 430p. The broker says the company’s valuation has dropped to such a point that it is difficult to see much further downside, but still sees competitive pressure in China Flow Control as a risk. Long-term organic growth is unlikely to be stellar given Cookson’s mature end markets, though UBS admits some areas of electronics could be the exception.

ALCATEL-LUCENT
Nomura rates the communications group as “neutral” with a target price of €2.50, as the broker cuts its estimates for the company’s 2012 revenue growth by almost five per cent. Nomura says industry-wide revenue growth for wireless equipment is likely to fall from +6 per cent in 2011 to -2 per cent in 2012, affecting Alcatel-Lucent’s revenue profile. The broker also sees second half spending coming under further pressure.

SPECTRIS
Citi rates the electronic equipment and instruments group as “Buy/high risk” and reduces its target price from £19.45 to £17. The broker has cut its 2012-13 earning per share estimates for the company by six per cent to reflect falling global GDP forecasts and expects tougher trading conditions. Full-year 2011 remains unchanged, but year-on-year growth for 2012 now stands at 14 per cent, boosted by an 11 per cent 2011 acquisition accretion.