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BEST OF THE BROKERS

CLOSE BROTHERS
Shore Capital has resumed coverage of Close Brothers with a “hold” rating after a pre-close update last week. The broker said the group’s mixed divisional performance – with strength in banking and securities but a more modest start to the year in asset management – shows it remains susceptible to the uncertain economic environment.

NOKIA
S&P Equity Research is bearish on Nokia ahead of its Q4 update this coming Thursday. S&P expects margin pressure in the mid tier and smartphone value share loss to weigh on earnings per share, and says the group has “considerable work to do” in improving its competitive position to take advantage of rising industry demand.

N BROWN
Collins Stewart sees the retailer’s discount to the sector as undeserved as it is structurally well-placed for the move to multi-channel retailing and has a significant international growth opportunity. It also says N Brown’s debtor book is well-managed relative to its peers. It has a “buy” rating on the stock and a target price of 300p.