BEST OF THE BROKERS

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL
Deutsche Bank rates the oil major “buy” with a target price of £25.50. The broker was frustrated by Shell’s results last week, believing that its refining branch is stubbornly underperforming. Deutsche expects that the first half of 2011 will be volatile, as new projects ramp up costs, but it does not foresee further cash-raising and hopes revenues will strengthen later in 2011.

DIAGEO
Nomura rates the drinks firm “buy” and has a target price of £15.50. The broker believes Diageo could be interested in taking on Fortune’s Jim Beam, Sauza and Makers Mark brands as part of its M&A spending spree, with the potential to enhance earnings per share immediately thanks to the firm’s low gearing. Nomura also expects five per cent organic growth when Diageo reports first-half results this Thursday.

KOFAX
Panmure Gordon rates the technology group “hold” and has increased its target price from 259p to 320p. Kofax’s recent interim results were better than expected, and Panmure is now forecasting 15 per cent growth in its software business. However, Panmure warns that Kofax must improve its product range if it is to continue this upward trajectory that it says was fuelled by a new enterprise sales team.