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BEST OF THE BROKERS

<strong>SANTANDER</strong><br />KBW maintains an &ldquo;outperform&rdquo; rating on Santander, predicting &ldquo;resilient&rdquo; second-quarter net profit of ?2,373bn (&pound;2bn), down six per cent year-on-year. The broker recently increased its EPS prediction based on lower provisions in Spain, as well as improving operating profits and favourable currency moves at Abbey and in Brazil.<br /><br /><strong>BP</strong><br />Evo Securities takes a &ldquo;Buy&rdquo; rating on BP, but warns today&rsquo;s second quarter results &ldquo;won&rsquo;t look great&rdquo;. The broker sees positive signs with costs coming down, the oil price rallying and several key projects coming on stream. Evo forecasts net income without non-operating items of $2.8bn (&pound;1.7bn), down 67 per cent year-on-year, with dividend up seven per cent to $0.15 per share.<br /><br /><strong>PACE</strong><br />WH Ireland is upbeat on set-top box maker Pace, reiterating its &ldquo;Buy&rdquo; recommendation, as the firm reported interim revenue of &pound;527m (WHI &pound;580m) and adjusted PBT of &pound;34.3m (WHI &pound;33.3m). The broker believes that the company continues to trade at a &ldquo;very substantial&rdquo; discount to the All-Share Tech Hardware sector prospective P/E ratio of 23x.