BEST OF THE BROKERS

BEAZLEY
Nomura rates the insurance group as “neutral” with a target price of 135p, after it confirmed its interest in fellow Lloyd’s insurer Hardy on Wednesday. The broker notes that Beazley will probably need external financing if it pushes ahead with the deal, as an improving rate outlook and interest from other parties could push up Hardy’s valuation. It also says the target’s size could make it a risky option for investors wanting access to the positive outlook.

IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES
Goldman Sachs rates the mobile phone and computer chip maker as a “buy”, and ups its target price to 750p following an increase to its estimated 10-year royalties stream. The broker’s analysis suggests Imagination’s opportunities in smartphones and tablets mean its earning per share could more than treble over the next four years, and Goldman reckons the company is in a prime position to capitalise on high growth in end markets.

SIGNET GROUP
Deutsche Bank rates the jewellery group as a “buy” with a target price of 3,800p, projecting strong eight per cent same-store sales for the US division in the fourth quarter. Though half of Signet’s business is bridal, the other half is gift giving, mainly at Christmas, so it makes around half of it annual profits in the fourth quarter. In the UK it projects 2.5 per cent same store sales, up from the year-to-date flat figure.