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BEST OF THE BROKERS

<strong>REED ELSEVIER</strong><br />Panmure Gordon retained its &ldquo;buy&rdquo; rating on Reed Elsevier after an update call with the company. It said that the shares have been disconcertingly weak recently but that this is understandable in view of the weak dollar. The broker leaves its core assumptions unchanged, forecasting earnings per share growth year-on-year.<br /><br /><strong>SERCO</strong><br />Serco&rsquo;s shares have rallied of their recent lows, said UBS as it increased its price target to 450p from 365p and upgraded its recommendation to &ldquo;buy&rdquo; from &ldquo;neutral&rdquo;. The broker attributed the re-rating to the shares being oversold at 350p, a re-assuring operating trading update, a number of contract wins and a firmer balance sheet.<br /><br /><strong>WHITBREAD</strong><br />Whitbread is resilient but not immune, said Evolution Securities. The broker rates the stock &ldquo;add&rdquo;, saying that it is not expensive but that the time to buy a hotel stock is when occupancy starts to recover and this could be another year and a half away. The analyst said that the Premier Inn business is perfect for these tough markets.