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BEST OF THE BROKERS

<strong>DAIRY CREST</strong><strong></strong><br />KBC Peel Hunt upped its target price for Dairy Crest from 360p to 400p following the firm&rsquo;s interim results, which were in line with expectations. The broker said that the news in the numbers was a significant reduction in net debt and an increase in the pension fund. It increased its pre-tax profit forecasts for the company by three per cent to &pound;80m and earnings per share estimate from 42p to 43.1p, but retained a &ldquo;hold&rdquo; recommendation.<br /><br /><strong>GALIFORM</strong><br />Noble analysts said that Galiform&rsquo;s trading update did not disappoint, with an improved sales trend and a gross margin well ahead of expectations. The broker increased its full-year 2009 earnings per share estimate by 28 per cent and for 2010 by 38 per cent, which it said means that, even after the recent share price rise, its 110p valuation is not expensive. With risks remaining on the upside, it has Galiform as a top pick in the sector.<br /><br /><strong>TOMKINS</strong><br />Nomura upgraded its recommendation on Tomkins to &ldquo;neutral&rdquo; and raised its target price to 180p. It said that the stock has underperformed the market by around 13.5 per cent over the past three months and that the valuation has not become more reasonable both on a relative and through cycle basis. The group issued an interim management statement last week and highlighted that profitability had recovered strongly in the third quarter.