Collins Stewart has maintained its recommendation on Provident Financial at “sell”. It said that Provident Financial was trading at the bottom of the trading range and the impact of new consumer policies set out by the government may result in a reduced earnings forecast and may pose a threat to the dividend. Collins Stewart maintains its target pricing of 800p.

Execution Noble has upgraded its recommendation on Chaucer to “buy” after the company generated an 11 per cent return on net trade assets in 2009. Execution Noble said the gradual strengthening of Chaucer’s balance sheet coupled with a likely hardening of premium rates on overall portfolio will lead to returns of 14 per cent in 2010 and 17 per cent in 2011.

Maintaining it’s “buy” recommendation on Tate & Lyle, Evolution Securities has also upped its target price from 500p to 525p. It sees Tate & Lyle as a good dividend stock and said management would change the story despite its inherent volatility and exposure to commodities. Evolution Securities said there are signs that some of the negatives in the market have stabilised.