BEST of the BROKERS

NEXT
UBS has maintained its “buy” rating on the stock but upped its target price from 3,250p to 3,500p, saying it expects Next to have escaped the worst impact of the weather in its second quarter. The broker also says the popular Directory business may have benefited from the bad weather, and has nudged its sales projections for the first half up from 11 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

ABERDEEN PRIVATE EQUITY FUND
Liberum Capital has upgraded the fund from “hold” to “buy”, saying it continues to demonstrate impressive growth in net asset value (NAV), which the broker says is reflective of a maturing portfolio and NAV accretive share buybacks. Liberum says the manager’s approach – adopting a proprietary and very systematic approach to fund selection and actively considering risk – differentiates the fund from its peers.

BELLWAY
Shore Capital has downgraded the housebuilder from “buy” to “hold” following a strong recent share price performance that has seen the company narrow its discount to last reported net asset value at which its shares trade. The broker also says that Bellway’s relatively short land bank should enhance its return on capital, as well as providing relative protection in the event of a downturn.