BEST OF THE BROKERS

BRITVIC
Goldman Sachs has downgraded the soft drinks firm to “sell” and cut its target price by 77p to 384p. The broker thinks the firm’s sales mix will continue to suffer as UK and Irish customers look for better value. It also expects Britvic’s management to admit rising input costs during interim results next month and has cut its 2011 underlying profit forecast by four per cent.

MARKS & SPENCER
UBS rates the retailer “neutral” and maintains its target price of 380p after quarterly results on Wednesday. The broker was pleasantly surprised by gross margin guidance of up to +0.25 per cent, and expects to see capital expenditure of £900m this year – twice that of rival Next as a portion of sales. For this reason, UBS expects M&S to pay much of 2011’s dividend out of debt.

RESOLUTION
JP Morgan rates the insurance group “underweight” with a target price of 282p. The broker has cut its operating earnings estimates by 34 per cent for 2011 and 2012, after receiving more information about the AXA business and some accounting changes. However, JP Morgan expects operating profits to return to previous levels of £554m by 2013.