BEST OF THE BROKERS

JD WETHERSPOON
N+1 Brewin has cut its rating of the pub chain from “hold” to “reduce” with a lowered target price of 375p, down from 443p, in reaction to what it calls “a mild profit warning” in the firm’s results on Friday. The broker has also pared back its forecasts for new openings of Wetherspoon pubs, given the grim outlook for the UK pub industry.

STHREE
Numis rates the recruiter “buy” with a target price of 380p, up from 320p. The broker says it is revising its bear outlook for the staffing market, following a strong start to the year for both SThree and rival Michael Page. While Numis remains conscious of rising costs in the business, it expects to see fresh increases in demand in the UK and further afield this year.

ADMIRAL
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has downgraded the firm from “neutral” to “underperform” with a target price of £11.50, up from £10. The broker thinks Admiral has a long-term advantage in the sector but is concerned about the impact of regulatory changes and lower reserve releases. BAML expects to see annual earnings growth of seven per cent between now and 2015.