BEST OF THE BROKERS

AFREN
JP Morgan Cazenove rates the oil and gas company as “overweight” with a target price of 98p after it announced earlier in the week it had achieved an exit rate production level of 55,400 barrels a day, ahead of target. The broker says even at lower production levels Afren is still in a reasonably robust financial position, and that it the valuation is attractive, expecially when considered alongside the company’s above-average exploration plans for 2012.

GLOBALTRANS
Morgan Stanley rates the Russian private freight rail operator as “overweight” with a target price of $20.50, after the company said it was planning to add 10,000 rail cars in 2012, compared to the broker’s assumption of 3,500. The broker says this provides clear evidence that Globaltrans remains a growth company that will continue to gain market share.

SANOFI
Citi rates the French drugs group as a buy with a target price of €68, and says it remains a key pick among European pharma companies. The broker says the new formulation of the company’s Lantus diabetes treatment seems to be performing better than rival Novo’s equivalent, and applies an upside scenario of a 17-24 per cent rise in Lantus sales over 2015-18, and a potential five per cent upside to earnings per share.