Best of the Brokers

Morgan Stanley rates the retailer “overweight” with a price target of 325p. Analysts have set out 10 questions for management to answer following lacklustre interim results, including why B&Q’s profitability has fallen and whether Screwfix could expand into new markets. Morgan Stanley also flags up the prospect of a long-term buyback strategy given Kingfisher’s strong balance sheet.

UBS has upgraded the packaging firm from “neutral” to “buy” with the target price rising from 146p to 240p. The broker sees a handsome £100m in synergies from the firm’s recent purchase of SCA Packaging, higher than the company’s guidance of £60m, along with the release of £200m in capital. UBS raises its earnings forecasts by eight to 30 per cent for the next three years.

Nomura rates the hotels-to-coffee company “buy” and has hiked its price target from £22.20 to £26.50. The broker sees a change in management focus towards improving return on capital employed. It thinks Whitbread could consider an exit from pubs, a faster expansion at Costa and an increased use of leasehold sites to achieve this. Nomura raises its medium-term earnings per share forecasts by three per cent.