BEST OF THE BROKERS

MACINTOSH RETAIL
ING rates the Dutch retails group as a “buy” but cuts its 12-month target price from €25 to €22, after slashing its earnings per share by 25 per cent for 2011, and decreasing them fractionally for 2012. The company’s first-half update last week was dominated by weakness in BelCompany and start-up costs for Steve Madden. The broker says that investor shouldn’t be fooled by the low-trough estimates, as one-off costs should fall away as of 2012.

LADBROKES
Investec rates the betting group as a “hold” with a target price of 145p. The broker expects Ladbrokes’ first half results tomorrow to be in line with expectations, but suspects that a need to step up investments over the rest of the year is likely to crystallise full year guidance towards the lower end of the range. Investec would welcome an update on online M&A, though it sees downside risk in both a tie-up with Sportingbet and also from walking away.

BELLWAY
Investec reiterates its “hold” rating on the UK house builder with a target price of 761p ahead of its trading update on Friday. The broker forecasts full-year profits before tax of £62.5m and earning per share of 37.4p, but sees better value elsewhere in the sector. When the group last updated in June, it reported a healthy trading performance for the year-to-date, with completions, pricing and margins ahead year-on-year.