BEST OF THE BROKERS

BOVIS HOMES
UBS rates the housebuilder “neutral” and has increased its target price from 401p to 430p. The broker has lifted its earnings per share forecasts after better than expected margins in the firm’s trading update, and believes Bovis can deliver better returns in the long-term. Returns growth at Bovis is below the sector average, it adds.

VIRGIN MEDIA
Deutsche Bank has downgraded the media group to “hold” with a target price of £17.25. The broker is concerned about the firm’s need to refocus on mobile sales to compensate for a tougher cable and broadband market this year with competition from BT and YouView, but approves of Virgin’s wider business momentum.

AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD
Morgan Stanley rates the miner “overweight” and has lifted its target price from 673p to 750p. The broker has upgraded its long-term gold price forecasts by 21 per cent, in turn raising its earnings forecasts for the miner by nine per cent in 2011. It expects the firm to show increased exploration in its update this week.