BEST of the BROKERS

LUFTHANSA
UBS rates the airline “buy” and has raised its target price by €1 to €14. The broker thinks Lufthansa’s second quarter results on 2 August will show a benefit from the falling value of the euro, offset by fuel and restructuring costs. UBS is forecasting a slight year-on-year fall in earnings before interest and tax to €237m for the quarter, but over the longer term has raised its earnings per share forecasts by five per cent.

CLOSE BROTHERS
Numis rates the financial services firm “hold” with a target price of 725p, up 5p following a trading update on Friday. The broker has trimmed its pre-tax profits forecast by one per cent to £131.2m this year, but has nudged up its outlook for 2013 slightly to £154.9m. It thinks Close Brothers’ banking division is delivering good growth, though low market volumes are hampering the securities business.

LAIRD
Peel Hunt rates the electronics firm “sell” with a target price of 160p, ahead of interim results due on Thursday. The broker is expecting first half sales of £265m and pre-tax profit of £25m. However, Peel Hunt remains wary of a sales bias towards the second half of the year, in spite of the imminent launch of the iPhone 5 – made by Laird’s largest customer, Apple.