Best of the Brokers

ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS
Shore Capital has downgraded the food and retail group Associated British Foods to “hold” with a target price of 1,762p following several years of sustained share price growth. This is “thoroughly merited given the outperformance of Primark, and the high valuation such a fast growing international retailer should demand” but the broker sees limited scope for further gains.

VODAFONE
Analysts from Citi yesterday downgraded the blue chip telecoms company from “buy” to “neutral”, with an ex-dividend target price of 180p. While the investment bank said that Vodafone shares had returned 11 per cent in the year to date, post-rally it also saw elevated M&A risk and “near-term revenue pressure in Europe” for the company.

PETROFAC
Galvan’s research department have issued a “buy” rating on oilfield services group Petrofac, with a target price of 1,750p. The company’s shares dipped last week after Italian rival Saipem issued a profit warning but Galvan believe this is “a dip to buy into”. They point out Petrofac reiterated full year profits guidance in December and the price drop “makes the group more attractive on valuation”.