BEST of the BROKERS

ASHTEAD
Canaccord Genuity said fourth quarter results published by the industrial equipment firm Ashtead last Thursday were better-than-expected and as a result, it is raising its target price by eight per cent to 285p and retaining its “buy”stance. The broker has upgraded its full year profit-before-tax forecast by nine per cent to £163.5m and said its forecasts assume some recovery in end construction markets, albeit low single digits.

CAPITAL & COUNTIES
Liberum Capital has upgraded the property developer Capital & Counties from “hold” to “buy”and revised its target price from 196p to 223p. The broker said the likelihood of the company securing planning consent on its Earls Court scheme in the second half of the year has improved significantly in recent months and said it has sufficient confidence to include the expected valuation surplus in its full year forecast.

LOGICA
Panmure Gordon downgraded Logica from “buy” to “hold”, but retained a target price of 117p. The broker said it has long argued that the British IT services provider, which recently accepted a £1.7bn takeover offer from Canadian rival CGI, “is simply badly configured for the ‘modern’ market and is ‘fixable’ given strong resolute management.” It also gives kudos to CGI for getting “a cheap deal” in its purchase of Logica.