Best of the Brokers

Merchant Securities has changed its recommendation on the Kazakh-focused oil & gas company to “sell” from “hold” and lowered its targetr price on the stock from 4.8p to 3.1p following a writedown of 2.7m barrel reserves and knock-on effect of the reduction on half-year resevre figures. The broker is also concerned that there has been no update on how debt negotiations with lender Macquarie are going.

Seymour Pierce retains its “hold” recommendation and target price of 325p on the high street retailer despite ongoing private equity bid speculation, saying it considers there to be better investment opportunities elsewhere. The brokers expects the rumours to come to nothing, with M&S remaining a business with both structural and operational issues, particularly with today’s unclear consumer outlook.

UBS has downgraded the pharmaceutical group from “buy” to “neutral” with a target price of 1,525p, as the firm’s valuation and earnings visibility may limit the potential for further upside. The broker has also reduce its forecast for GSK sales by two per cent and three per cent in 2013 and 2016 respectively, and redcued its core basic earnings by three per cent and six per cent for the same years.