BEST OF THE BROKERS

DEBENHAMS
Citigroup has upgraded the retailer to “buy” and has raised its target price from 65p to 85p following Tuesday’s results. The broker is impressed by the firm’s gains in market share and gross margins despite a moribund UK retail market. Citi expects to see share buybacks beyond this year, with eight to nine per cent growth in earnings per share.

VODAFONE
Goldman Sachs rates the telecoms group “buy” and has trimmed its two-year price target from 242p to 235p. The broker expects good progress when the firm reports full-year results on 22 May, with long-term growth of between one and four per cent. Goldman reckons the market is underestimating the strength of growth potential at partner Verizon.

BOVIS
UBS rates the housebuilder “sell” but has raised its 12-month target price from 395p to 465p after the broker updated its forecasts. UBS now expects to see 69 per cent pre-tax profit growth in 2012, albeit from a low base and still lagging behind peers. But the broker is encouraged by signs of recovering returns, and recommends that management reinvests cash into new sites.