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BEST OF THE BROKERS

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP
Morgan Stanley has given Lloyds Banking Group an “underweight” rating and cut its price target by 23 per cent to 50p. Analysts said it faces a big risk of missing consensus beyond 2010, given pressure on net interest margin, tepid GDP growth and industry funding strains. Barclays is Morgan Stanley’s top pick.

BARCLAYS
Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) said that despite the tougher trading in BarCap and Spain, UK banking trends continue to improve. Barclays looks cheap and profitable this year, according to BoAML and remains a “buy”. Given the increased uncertainty, BoAML said it may have to wait longer to see a relative re-rating.

CENTRICA
Execution Noble has upgraded its earnings per share forecasts by five to eight per cent for Centrica and issued the group with a “buy” rating. Execution said Centrica is on target to deliver the next phase of its strategy and doing so will deliver sustainable growth in earnings and dividends, in a sector generally facing many pressures.

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