BEST OF THE BROKERS

CARNIVAL
Investec held Carnival as a “buy” after it posted first quarter figures in line with estimates last week. The broker said underlying bookings are “buoyant” despite marketing being pulled for two weeks following the capsizing of the Costa Concordia, which killed at least 25 people. Fuel costs and foreign exchange rates have moved against Carnival, wrote James Hollins and Paul Leyland. The target price was kept at 2,500p.

MAN GROUP
HSBC downgraded Man Group from “overweight” to “neutral (volatile)” after the world’s largest listed hedge fund posted results for the nine months to the end of December and announced plans to boost future dividends. The broker cut its target price from 150p to 140p and wrote: “[The] decline of guaranteed product is our main concern although the Japanese onshore market offers a distant ray of hope”.

HUNTING
JP Morgan Cazenove upgraded oil services firm Hunting from “underweight” to “neutral” and said its “shrewd” acquisitions are paying off after it posted a forecast-beating 70 per cent jump in 2011 profits. The target price is 998p, up from its previous target of 732p. The oil and shale industry expects to see the drilling of more horizontal wells and the broker said Hunting is now able to access more revenue per well drilled.