BEST OF THE BROKERS

TRAVIS PERKINS
Numis raised the builder’s merchant to “add” from “buy” yesterday at a target price of 1,250p, expecting its acquisition of BSS to enhance its earnings per share by more than 13 per cent. The broker believes the combined group now looks cheap and supported by an improving industry backdrop, should continue to outperform.

RICARDO
RBS rates the engineering provider “buy” with a £3.30 target price after a strong pre-close trading update yesterday that showed it has an £115m order book for the first half of 2011, a 25 per cent year-on-year rise in order intake. However, the broker now believes Ricardo could be at risk of being over-valued in forecasts.

MARKS AND SPENCER
Panmure Gordon rates the retailer “hold” with a 405p target price ahead of today’s trading update. Slight sales growth is expected in the last weeks of 2010, though it warns figures may fall short of forecasts. Panmure says if M&S can deliver the financial targets it set out in November, its shares could be worth far more than now.