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BEST OF THE BROKERS

SIGNET JEWELERS
Ahead of Signet's financial results, Standard & Poor retains its “strong buy” recommendation. Expects continued market share gains for Signet as weaker peers grapple with execution problems and supports their optimism for a cyclical recovery. Expects Ernest Jones stores to benefit from a recovery spending.

JARDINE LLOYD THOMPSON
Shore Capital recommends a “buy” stance on Jardine Lloyd Thompson after its 2009 results. It says the 14 per cent growth in revenue, reflected the benefits of foreign exchange, organic growth and acquisitions. Says the 28 per cent growth in trading profits imply an improvement in trading margin.

PROVIDENT FINANCIAL
Altium Capital retains its “hold” recommendation on Provident Financial after its 2009 preliminary results which were 0.5 per cent ahead of their bottom of the range estimates but 3.5 per cent below consensus. It notes that fragile consumer confidence has resulted in a tempering of demand for Provident’s services.

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