Best of the Brokers

Espirito Santo yesterday downgraded the food services group from “buy” to “neutral”, believing the company’s shares outperformed in 2012. According to the analysts, this encapsulates the gloomy short-term potential in the company due to limited organic growth caused by cyclical pressure in Europe. However, Espirito Santo has raised its fair value by 50p to 750p and sees long-term opportunities.

Investec lowered its target price by 15p to 585p yesterday and reiterated its “sell” label on the online betting and gaming operator. The company’s new chief execuive has not convinced Investec that his “turnaround story” is persuasive, and the analyst forecasts lower projected revenue and costs as the firm pares back some overseas arms. On the other hand, Investec thinks Betfair is doing well in the UK.

Seymour Pierce hiked its view on the credit information agency from “reduce” to “add” and increased the target price to 1,100p on the back of recent share price underperformance. The move follows positive news on consumer lending in the US, the company’s largest market where it makes almost half of its sales. Seymour Pierce has trimmed its profit forecasts by two per cent on currency movements.