BEST OF THE BROKERS

CAIRN ENERGY
Investec rates the energy explorer “hold” with a target price of 291p. Despite the “early Christmas present” of a 154p per share dividend in the wake of Cairn’s deal with Vedanta, the broker remains cautious about the firm’s prospects, pointing to a lack of success in Greenland and weak growth in India. Investec sees five per cent upside in Cairn’s shares, compared with 41 per cent at rival Tullow.

BRITVIC
Collins Stewart rates the drinks firm “sell” with a target price of 260p. The broker is concerned that the firm will be unable to grow its cash flow in the current tough economic environment, and thinks a dividend hike in these conditions is unwise. High levels of debt are also a worry for the broker, which wants to see an end to “the constant use of exceptional charges” in the firm’s figures.

LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE
Goldman Sachs has a “sell” rating on the stock exchange owner with a target price of 750p. Goldman thinks the LSE’s recent purchase of the other half of FTSE will add between three and 10 per cent to earnings per share, though this depends heavily on the cost of funding. The broker maintains that recent central bank actions to improve liquidity could crowd out up to one third of LSE’s earnings.