Broker Roundup: Aerospace, online gaming and banking

In aerospace and defence, equity research analysts at Berenberg Bank reckon security and technology group QinetiQ's (LON:QQ.) growth strategy, as outlined in May, is clearly progressing.

In particular, the bank highlighted the meaningful capital which has now been committed to contract investment and acquisitions.

"Our prior Sell case was based on the risk of margin contraction in the core EMEA Services business due to lower profit rates on UK MoD single-source contracts (QinetiQ is the most exposed defence company)," analysts said.

"This remains a risk, but the impact is less severe than we had envisaged and over the longer term mitigated by emerging growth opportunities."

Berenberg has moved to a 'hold' rating and upped its price target to 275 pence a share (from 210 pence).

The shares were up by more than 1 per cent in mid-afternoon trading.

Turning to online gaming, Peel Hunt has upgraded its recommendation on 888 Holdings (LON:888) to 'buy' from 'add' in a note to clients.

The broker commented: "We believe 888's soup to nuts online gaming operating system will eventually become part of a much larger enterprise and create material additional value."

"The company is a rare, perhaps unique, asset with B2C and B2B in casino and poker (and bingo, albeit a bit creaky) set up for multiple jurisdictions," it added.

"It is our top pick for value-creating M&A."

Analysts increased their target to 260 pence a share from 200 pence.

Meanwhile, Deutsche appears to have taken a shine to banking group Barclays (LON:BARC) and upgraded its investment rating to 'buy' from 'hold', believing that after a year of restructuring it is now well placed to deliver earnings growth in 2017.

It added: "Barclays shares have performed well since the US election in November, however think there is still upside from here.

"Our target price rises to 270p, and with 15% upside we upgrade our rating from Hold to Buy."

Separately, Exane BNP Paribas reaffirmed its 'neutral' call and 245 pence target price.

At 2:47pm:

(LON:888) 888 Holdings PLC share price was +1.75p at 219.5p

(LON:BARC) Barclays PLC share price was -2.57p at 232.68p

(LON:QQ.) QinetiQ Group PLC share price was +3.1p at 264.1p