BEST OF THE BROKERS

TATE & LYLE
RBS rates the UK speciality food producer “buy” and ups its target price from 580p to 625p following a positive trading update and the sale of its Fort Dodge ethanol plant to Cargill for £36m. Though the sale is at a significant shortfall to the £234m of investment it had made, the broker still sees significant cash benefit. Normalised profits before tax are raised from £251m to £259m, taking earnings per share from 45.1p to 46.5p.

SERCO
The announcement of successful bidders for the Work Programme last week brought disappointment for the support services firm, but Espirito Santo maintains its “buy” rating, believing that the firm’s track record of delivery, scale, breadth of service and geographic spread will continue to underpin attractive growth. The broker estimates the impact equates to only a one per cent headwind to forecasts, and sets a target price of 680p.

FUTURE
Altium Securities reiterates its “sell” recommendation for the Bath-based publishing firm, following an interim management statement that substantially reduced profit guidance for the full year. The company’s shares fell 11 per cent following the warning, but the broker warns that further underperformance is likely, as planned digital gains may not compensate for print advertising declines. The target price is reduced from 27p to 19p.