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BEST OF THE BROKERS

Persimmon
Credit Suisse has upped its target price on the housebuilder to 678p following strong full-year results. The broker predicts volume growth of 10 per cent and price growth of 8 per cent this year, with the latter attributable to mix impact rather than underlying price inflation. Credit Suisse also expects further deleveraging from the group, halving net debt to £138m by the end of 2010.

Diageo
Citigroup Global Markets reckons the drinks group is on track to deliver low single digit earnings growth in 2010 despite uncertain prospects in the US, where improving consumer attitudes have yet to feed through to data. Citi, which has a target price of 1020p on the stock, added that recent sterling weakness could lead to a forex translation benefit of £25m for the full year.

BNP Paribas
Nomura sees the bank as attractive compared to its peers, due to lower levels of exposure to sovereign and liquidity risks given the location of its core retail operations in less leveraged areas of the Eurozone and its position as the Eurozone’s leading deposit taker. The broker reiterated its “buy” rating on the stock, having recently raised its price target by about 10 per cent.