BEST OF THE BROKERS

LAND SECURITIES
Panmure Gordon rates the commercial property group hold with an 825p target price as it believes today’s trading update will confirm a trend of strong rent growth and tenant demand, particularly in central London. Panmure believes Land Sec has a portfolio of prime retail space that will maintain its growth despite a tough retail sector. The shares trade close to the broker’s 2011 net asset value forecast, but it sees plenty of upside potential.

HALFORDS
Shore Capital rates Halfords a sell with a 360.8p target price ahead of Thursday’s trading update as its last such update in June was mixed. The broker believes trading conditions have worsened since then, while expectations of performance at its cycling division and newly overhauled autocentres are high. Shore Cap expects 0.3 per cent like for like sales growth in its retail arm and 1.3 per cent in autocentres, but says downside risks remain high.

BHP BILLITON
RBS rates the mining giant a buy with a 2,770p target price following its plan to buy shale gas firm Petrohawk Energy last week. RBS sees BHP Billiton as inexpensive in absolute terms but sees a mixed reaction to the acquisition, as unless US gas prices rise substantially a share buyback programme would be better value for shareholders. As many oil majors are growing their shale gas assets, there is also a risk of oversupply to the US market, RBS said.