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BEST OF THE BROKERS

HOME RETAIL GROUP
Charles Stanley said the group’s fourth quarter trading update covering the eight weeks to 27 February was mixed. Trading was impacted by poor weather in January, but the impact on profits has been limited as the period is traditionally a low volume one. The broker remains cautious especially over the growing threat to Argos.

WETHERSPOON
Evolution Securities reiterates its “buy” rating on Wetherspoon after a successful refinancing has resulted in a surprise dividend bonanza. But the real prize is the increased financial capability to accelerate the roll-out by picking up new units at knock-down prices. The broker added that Wetherspoon is having a good recession.

MEARS GROUP
Collins Stewart recommends investors buy Mears Group after it recorded solid profits growth and excellent cash generation at its preliminary results. Group revenues grew 12 per cent to £470m, with social housing growing organically by 18 per cent. The broker forecasts 9-10 per cent organic sales growth by 2009-12.