BEST OF THE BROKERS

XSTRATA
Standard & Poor’s has initiated coverage on the miner with a “buy” recommendation and a 12 month target price of £15.00. The broker expects group earnings to hit record levels in 2011, due to both through a £14bn capital expenditure programme that will increase volumes, and through rising prices of copper and thermal coal.

BHP BILLITON
Nomura rates the miner “reduce” with a target price of £23. The broker examines a possible takeover or merger with Woodside Petroleum, which could create an oil and gas group with synergy savings of almost $4bn. A spin-off listing could help improve BHP’s share price of seven per cent below its total value, Nomura says.

TAYLOR WIMPEY
UBS rates the housebuilder “neutral” with a 12 month target price of 29p, down from 31p following the firm’s trading update last week. The broker has upgraded its earnings before interest and tax forecast by 25 per cent to £196m and cheers the recent debt restructuring, but does not see the cost of capital covered until 2013 – 14.