BEST OF THE BROKERS

AHOLD
RBS has lowered its target price, but still rates the food retailer a “buy” with a target of €11.80. The broker has cut earnings per share forecasts for 2010 to 2012 by four to six per cent, chiefly due to the recent strength of the euro against the dollar. It believes the departure of chief executive John Rishton will make little difference.

ALEXON
Brewin Dolphin rates the clothing retailer an “add” with a 12-month target price of 21p. The broker has cut its earnings per share forecasts by 25 per cent for 2011 due to what it sees as delays in improvement. It maintains that the firm shows promise but believes investors will be wary of adding to retail exposure in the run-up to Christmas.

PETROFAC
Arden Partners has downgraded the oil group to “neutral” from “add” with a target price of £13.67. While the broker views last week’s interim results as strong, it sees better value elsewhere in the sector. It has raised its earnings per share by 5 cents to $1.20 in the current financial year, on the back of $4.17bn sales.