BEST OF THE BROKERS

MICRO FOCUS
Numis rates the FTSE 250-listed business software firm as a “buy” and raises its target price to 590p, saying the company’s shares remain materially cheap. The broker says that the market is undervaluing the firm’s cash generation, stable performance and expectations of modest growth, and says its views were confirmed by a February management statement which showed $22m of cash was generated in the third quarter.

ANHEUSER BUSCH INBEV
JP Morgan Cazenove maintains its “overweight” rating on the brewing group but raises its target price from €57 to €61 after the company beat its estimates for organic growth in the fourth quarter of last year despite investing further in the brand and distribution footprint. The broker now expects a further increase in the dividend to €1.71 for 2012 and €2.74 in 2013, as well as a $4bn share buyback.

COOKSON
Investec rates the material sciences group as a “buy” with an increased target price of 780p, saying that its quality as an core investment has improved considerably. Profits comfortably exceeded the broker’s estimates, largely due to a surge in the group’s performance materials business, while net debt fell to 1.05x Ebitda. The company should also make further progress on the back of good forecasts for steel, car and electronic systems production.