Best of the brokers

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UBS has downgraded the bookmaker from “buy” to “neutral” and raised its 12-month target from 220p to 240p following a 53 per cent rise in the share price over the past year. The broker estimates marginal earnings growth this year due to a higher than expected tax rate, but sees worries about the decline of its UK retail business as unfounded.

Shore Capital has upgraded the supermarket from “hold” to “buy” at 367p. Analyst Clive Black thinks Tesco has passed through a crossroads after two years of tinkering, and believes the firm can use its stable core business to launch shareholder-friendly projects such as a buyback. But in the short-term, new UK boss Chris Bush must contend with the horsemeat scandal and ensure continued stability.

Nomura has kept its “buy” rating on the bank and raised its target price by 50p to 2,100p following mixed results on Tuesday. The broker thinks StanChart is working hard to meet its double-digit income growth target, with a stellar performance in Africa offset by a tough time in Korea. StanChart is at risk of a hard economic landing in China, but Nomura nevertheless sees long-term value.