BEST of the BROKERS

SHIRE
Societe Generale has upgraded the pharmaceutical giant from “hold” to “buy” with a reduced target price of 2,192p from the previous 2,310p. Despite the US regulator approving a generic competitor for the company’s Adderall XR drug last week, the broker does not expect multiple generics to be approved from here, so continues to see growth in revenues and profits from the franchise. However, Soc Gen has cut its forecasts aggressively, leading to a drop in group revenue estimates for 2012-15 of up to three per cent.

MEDITERRANEAN OIL & GAS
Liberum Capital has initiated coverage of the UK oil and gas group with a “buy” rating and a target price of 13.9p, saying that the company is now back on its feet and looks ready to embark on a growth path. The broker says the current share price is close to its valuation of just the firm’s Italian fields that are already producing, and ignores its prospective resources in Italy, Malta and France. It expects an ambitious path from the company to drive growth outside of the Italian operations.

CRODA
JP Morgan has upgraded the speciality chemicals group from “neutral” to “overweight” and increases its target price to 2,600p, saying that the firm’s main characteristic in the last downturn was resilience, and says that this is unlikely to change.