BEST OF THE BROKERS

REED ELSEVIER
Standard & Poor’s Equity Research (S&P) believes half year results are stronger than expected and have raised their target price by half a euro to €8, though it maintained a “sell” rating. Shares have reacted postively but this could lead to a correction later on in the year.

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO
Charles Stanley Research gives BAT a “buy” rating after interim results came in ahead of consensus. Although it says an operating margin of 34 per cent was pleasing, it warns timing of marketing spend may affect second half margin leading to lower full year margin.

XSTRATA
Evolution Securities retains an “add” recommendation on Xstrata as it expects tomorrow’s earnings to be a little below consensus for the first half of the year. The broker blames lower copper production than many estimated and has raised the target price 15p to 1075p.