BEST OF THE BROKERS

MAX PETROLEUM
Following a dry hole at SAGW-2, Merchant Securities rates the Kazakhstan-focused oil & gas company as a “buy” with a target price of 25.2p. The broker limits its valuation of Sagiz West due to the dry hole, taking into account only proven and probably reserves for that field of 4.8Mb, and leading to a downgrade of its target price by 3.8p per share. Max Petroleum has also extended the trial production period at Zhana Makat to 15 March.

LONDON MINING
Investec has started covering the miner with a “buy” rating and a target price of 458p. The broker thinks London Mining has the advantage of a brownfield site, which requires less investment than others, and could see its share price benefit when it ramps up production in mid-2012. Investec says shareholders could benefit from the firm being “the next cab off the rank” for iron ore production.

INFORMA
Credit Suisse rates the media group “outperform” but has trimmed its target price from 500p to 480p and lowered its forecasts to reflect a tougher economic backdrop. The broker has cut earnings per share forecasts for the year by three per cent, bringing it in line with consensus. However, Credit Suisse still has Informa as its key mid-cap media player, seeing it as well placed for both a cyclically-driven recovery and possible takeover interest.