Fox-Davies Capital this morning urged a “buy” at Max Petroleum (LON:MXP), which announced that drilling was underway on the ZMA-A15 development well in the Zhana Makat Field. The well's primary target is the J-IIb Jurassic reservoir at a depth of approximately 830m, with a secondary exploratory objective in the Triassic formation below 1,300m. FD said the well should increase production and cash flows going forward but that this was an aside to the more important exploration drilling programme that the company is pursuing and also to the farm-out negotiations underway for the pre-salt play.

Astaire Securities gave its backing to a deal by Telit Communications Plc (LON:TCM) to issue new shares to Bartolini After Market Electronics Services (BAMES) in return for its 10% stake in Telit’s Italian subsidiary, Telit Wireless Solutions. The broker said the deal tidies up the corporate structure at Telit, which will continue to work with BAMES.

WH Ireland retained its “buy” recommendation for Judges Capital (LON:JDG) and raised its target price to 285p from 265p following news that the scientific instrument maker had enjoyed “robust” trading during the first six-months backed by strong order intake, which was higher than the same time last year. WHI said the strong order levels offered potential further upside during the second half, short of any macro shocks. Meanwhile, it maintained an “outperform” recommendation for chemicals group Croda International Plc (LON:CRDA) ahead of the group’s interim figures due on July 27. Croda reported record sales and profits in both Consumer Care and Industrial Specialities in the opening three months of the year. The company said that robust trading had continued into Q2 and it remained confident of achieving significant progress throughout the remainder of the year. Finally, WHI rated Provident Financial (LON:PFG) an “outperform” ahead of its interim results on July 27.

Evolution Securities suggested that a drilling update from Dana Petroleum Plc (LON:DNX) this morning had more to do with a possible offer from Korean oil group KNOC than anything else. The broker said it was rare for Dana to provide this sort of detail, besides which most of the information was already known to the market. Evo said: “We are not aware that KNOC has ever been especially interested in exploration or paying up for it so…

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