Best of the Brokers

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Liberum Capital has a “sell” rating on the publisher and a fair value of 1,050p. The broker sees gloomy read-across from US publisher J Wiley’s results last week, which highlighted the difficulties facing the industry as a whole and suggested Pearson will find it tough to gain market share. Liberum forecasts a three per cent average annual fall in Pearson’s US higher education sales through to 2016.

N+1 Singer rates the retailer “buy” and has a target price of 380p. Following a meeting with new chief executive Simon Calver to discuss the firm’s turnaround strategy, the broker sees Mothercare’s ambition to eliminate losses in the UK by 2015 as credible. However, N+1 warns that losses in the short-term remain hard to predict while the firm is closing stores and trimming other costs.

Peel Hunt has a “buy” rating on the asset manager and a price target of 125p. The broker expects F&C to post a 33 per cent rise in earnings when it announces full-year results on Thursday, in a sign of progress since last year’s strategic review. Peel Hunt is also hoping to hear more on how the firm plans to generate new institutional and consumer business.