Best of the Brokers

Lloyd’s of London insurer Lancashire has been upgraded to “add” by Nick Johnson of Numis, with a target price of 915p. He points out the FTSE 250 company has a “trend to pay out 100 per cent of earnings”. He sees room for an improved return on net assets thanks to “a more leveraged capital structure and improved risk adjusted underwriting returns in 2013.”

Barry Cornes at Panmure Gordon has downgraded insurance investment vehicle BP Marsh to “hold” after it hit his 130p target price earlier this week. BP Marsh’s shares have risen substantially after it admitted being in talk over the possible sale of its 13.8 per cent stake in Hyperion but Cornes points out there remains “uncertainty over the outcome of the discussions” and no deal has been signed.

Nomura’s Andrew Evans has retained his “buy” recommendation on easyJet but increased the target price from 913p to 1020p. He insists the company, which is on the cusp of inclusion in the FTSE 100, can keep growing. “We see Easyjet as having embarked upon a process of self improvement that keeps the momentum in the business going with a constant drive to find new areas of development,” he said.