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BEST OF THE BROKERS

MARSTON’S
Numis predicts the brewing giant will report a year-on-year one per cent increase in like-for-like sales at its annual meeting on Friday and gives the shares a “buy” rating. It forecasts pub margins to be flat with falling utility and food costs and labour cost inflation offset by efficiency gains.

PHILIPS
S&P Equity has upgraded Philips to “buy” from “hold” after good results from last year’s fourth quarter. Group revenues were higher than estimated, largely because of improved profitability in its healthcare and consumer lifestyle sectors. Comprehensive cost control measures underpin its more positive stance.

PLAYTECH
Killik & Co is encouraged by the fourth quarter trading update from online and machine gaming software group Playtech, which showed full-year gross income increased by 23 per cent to €137.3m (£119.9m) and fourth quarter income was up 21 per cent on the third quarter. Trading has improved further this year.