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BEST OF THE BROKERSn

BT GROUP
Charles Stanley says last week’s third quarter results from BT were positive, particularly for overall improvement in profitability, and a small uplift in full year cash flow guidance was also welcome.

“However, overshadowing all this was the news on the pension fund, which was overall worse than expectations,” Stanley said.

SMITH & NEPHEW
Edison Investment Research said the medical device manufacturer delivered strong earnings improvement in 2009, with adjusted earnings per share increasing by 18 per cent, largely because of efficiency gains and the absence of costs specific to 2008. “The comparison will be more challenging this year,” Edison said.

SSL INTERNATIONAL
Evolution Securities said the decision by Durex-condom-maker SSL to split the acquisition of the half of Russia’s BLBV it does not already own into two gives SSL more financial protection. “The cost to SSL remains the same if Russian profits do not grow in 2010 and reduces if 2009 Russian profits were unsustainably high,” it said.