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Ryanair and easyJet facing turbulence, says Deutsche

Lower demand and pricing pressure set to weigh on budget airlines, says German broker

Ryanair jets
Deutsche downgraded Ryanair and easyJet to 'hold', saying forward-looking data was weak

The prospects of European budget carriers Ryanair Holdings Plc (LON:RYA) and easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) have nosedived, according to Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche downgraded the pair to 'hold', saying forward-looking market data was "simply too weak" to prop up a higher rating.

Nominal profitability remains at elevated levels due to oil but structural improvement to cost bases has been slow to materialise," the German investment bank said.

"Capacity is stubbornly high, demand risks are weighted to the downside and we see further pressure on pricing.

"We need to see greater evidence of structural non-fuel cost improvement, margins to normalise for oil and/or the capacity outlook to improve before a re-rating is possible."

Elsewhere, shares in Dunhill, Lucky Strike and B&H maker British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS) wafted more than 1% higher to 4883p after an upgrade by Investec.

The South African broker upgraded the cigarette manufacturer to 'buy' with an increase in its price target to 5200p from 4000p.

Market commentators said the new price target indicated Investec now believed the share price could rise by 7.9%.

Brokers gave a mixed response after Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) this week reported a strong annual performance and an update start to 2016/17

Jefferies International upgraded its price target on the housebuilder slightly to 603p.

But Deutsche Bank left its target unchanged at 575p and Peel Hunt reduced its target to 590p from 640p.

Peel Hunt said: "Final results from Barratt were in line with expectations and the start to the new year has been robust enough.

"Our previous margin forecasts now look a bit of a stretch while joint venture profits will also be lower. Consequently we have cut forecasts 5%-6% for 2017/18."

Meanwhile, financial stocks got a shake-up, with Barclays Capital upping its price target on inter-dealer broker ICAP plc (LON:IAP) to 540p from 465p.

Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL.) was also in favour with Barclays, which increased its target on the stockbroker to 1500p.

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