BEST OF THE BROKERS

RESTAURANT GROUP
Citigroup has maintained its “buy” rating on the Frankie & Benny’s owner but upped its target price from £3.65 to £4 following a good set of full year results earlier in the week. The broker has updated its estimates and says that a premium is deserved given the estimated 10-year earnings per share compound annual growth rate of 16 per cent. Though the consumer outlook is uncertain, Citi expects like-for-like growth of 2.5 per cent in 2012.

BAE SYSTEMS
UBS rates the UK defence firm as a “buy” and raises its target price to 360p from 320p because of what it sees as a reduction in risk, combined with a lower weighted average cost of capital at 9.3 per cent and lower pension underfunding. The broker is reducing the discount that it applies to fair value to 10 per cent (from 15 per cent) as uncertainties surrounding the US budget and the defence outlook become clearer.

WEIR
Panmure Gordon has downgraded the pumps and valves maker’s rating from “buy” to “hold”, saying that its previous assumption that aftermarket dynamics in the unconventional oil and gas market would save the day now looks more difficult to pin down. The broker’s estimates fall back by around four per cent and it says that on acquisitions, as Weir’s plate is fairly full now, it is calling a time out.