BEST of the BROKERS

BRITISH LAND
JP Morgan Cazenove said it has “taken the plunge” and upgraded the property giant to “overweight” with a price target of 580p, due to its recent share price underperformance compared to peers. The broker thinks British Land could step up to “play Champions League” property development by demerging specialised divisions, such as the Broadgate vehicle, eyeing up UK small caps and increasing focus on London while selling off its European exposure. Currently, JP Morgan thinks the firm is trading at 18 per cent discount to its total net asset value.

AER LINGUS
UBS rates the airline “neutral” and has raised its price target from €0.90 to €1.10 ahead of first quarter results due on Thursday. The broker believes Aer Lingus has enjoyed strong growth in the quarter, with the firm managing to keep its flights full while not sacrificing on margins. UBS is also expecting operating losses to be around €31m, “greatly reduced” compared to last year when Aer Lingus was hit by industrial action, and hopes to see evidence of further margin growth for the rest of the year.

LEGAL & GENERAL
Panmure Gordon rates the insurance group “buy” with a target price of 139p ahead of its interim management statement due on Thursday. The broker is forecasting total new business sales to fall six per cent to £405m thanks to the tough economy and lack of appetite for large annuity sales. However, Panmure expects to see cash generation to rise nine per cent and £9.1bn gross inflows in the firm’s investment management business. The broker is also keen to get an update on outgoing chief executive Tim Breedon’s replacement.