Best of the Brokers

Nomura has raised its target price by 3.5 per cent to 3,500p and maintains its “buy” rating on the tobacco seller. BAT is enjoying better volumes in Japan, offset slightly by tougher competition from bootleggers in Brazil, the broker points out. For the year, Nomura has raised its earnings per share estimate by 0.2 per cent, and remains impressed by BAT’s cost savings and product plans.

Panmure Gordon has cut its rating on the used car firm from “buy” to “hold” with an unchanged target price of 430p. The broker thinks Inchcape is coping admirably with the headwinds in Europe, but warns of scope for disappointment in Russia and Australasia. Panmure also sees potential for a share buyback as the firm’s balance sheet is “bordering on becoming inefficient”, though it is unsure on timings.

Morgan Stanley rates the retail-focused property group “overweight” and has an unchanged price target of 530p. The broker thinks Hammerson’s purchase of a stake in the Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon is a statement of confidence and an opportunity for a lucrative and strategically important redevelopment, if it can win a dispute with rival Westfield.