- In the banking sector, Berenberg has downgraded its recommendation on Barclays [LON:BARC] to sell (from hold) believing the US and UK consumer credit cycles are nearing a crescendo, while structural headwinds to investment banking remain.

Berenberg added that it struggles to justify the stock's current valuation and reckons risks are skewed to the downside.

The bank commented: "We believe Barclays has strong core businesses relative to European peers but remains susceptible to normalised credit losses and IB activity.

"A sharper-than-expected end to the US credit cycle is a risk and capital remains a work in progress."

Analysts have tweaked their price target to 200 pence per share (from 170 pence).

Switching to the recruitment sector, Credit Suisse has double-upgraded its investment rating on Robert Walters [LON:RWA], moving straight to outperform from underperform, and hiked its target to 435 pence a share from 260 pence.

The Swiss bank says it expects the recruitment consultancy to grow organic gross profit at a 7% CAGR over the 4 years to 2020E.

It added: "We expect the UK business, and also Asia Pacific, to be supported by on-going progress from its Resource Solutions (RS) division.

"We also expect the commercial operations in Asia Pac and Europe to grow by high single digits on avg given improving macro conditions and lower levels of market penetration."

At 2:53pm:

[LON:BARC] Barclays PLC share price was -6.8p at 223.8p

[LON:RWA] Robert Walters PLC share price was +5.5p at 367.5p

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