BEST OF THE BROKERS

GREENCORE
RBS rates the Irish convenience foods producer “buy” with a target price of €1.50. The broker believes Greencore enjoyed solid trading over Christmas, though it expects raw material cost inflation to continue to dampen profits. RBS believes its short-term price is likely to be driven by its proposed merger with Northern Foods.

PRUDENTIAL
Nomura has downgraded the insurance group from “neutral” to “reduce” with a target price of 700p. The broker thinks the market is underestimating the Pru’s exposure to the US, which it expects to lose growth momentum this year. Nomura prefers Prudential’s one-time takeover target AIA for exposure to the Asian markets.

XSTRATA
Morgan Stanley rates the miner “overweight” and has upgraded its target price from £15.74 to £21. The broker has raised targets across the sector after it revised its long-term commodity forecasts, but Xstrata benefits the most due to its exposure to copper. The broker also sees the prices of iron ore, silver and gold rocketing.