BEST OF THE BROKERS

WHITBREAD
Credit Suisse has cut its rating for Premier Inn and Costa coffee owner Whitbread from “outperform” to “neutral”, saying that downside risks at the company are increasing. The broker expects a two per cent decline in revenue per average room at Premier Inn in 2013, which leaves its earnings per share estimates seven per cent below consensus.

RIO TINTO
Goldman Sachs has upgraded the mining group from “neutral” to “buy” and raised its target price fro 4400p to 5000p, to reflect recent forecast revisions by its Australian commodities team that affect price assumptions. Though BHP Billiton is the broker’s top pick, it has changed its view on Rio after upgrading its medium-term iron ore prices.

PREMIER OIL
UBS has downgraded the British oil firm from “buy” to “neutral” but maintained its target price of 430p, saying that although the outlook is positive the valuation of the company appears stretched. The firm’s shares are up 20 per cent this year, and the broker says while things are on track, it sees relatively limited upside from on valuation.