Investment: The Brokers' Tips

Which companies' shares do stockbrokers prefer for their solid and dependable performance? Here are their choices

Fred Robinson, partner, Killik and Co

Bass - This blue chip company looks attractive at current stock market levels. The shares are not expensive, and they are not too risky. They offer a 5 per cent yield for the year to September, and a good balance between income and capital growth.

Justin Urquhart Stewart, communications director, Barclays Stockbrokers

Shell - Shares in this oil company have been out of fashion, and it has suffered from low oil prices. But these will rise, given some time, and strategic improvements needed by the firm to make it more profitable are expected soon. They are good value.

Allan Collins, partner, Redmayne Bentley

Shell - The dividend looks secure, being twice covered by cashflow. And there may also be further mergers in the oil industry that could boost the shares. They enjoy a secure income stream and the prospect of a rising price.

Jeremy Batstone, research head, NatWest Stockbrokers

P&O 6 and 3/4% convertible preference shares - These shares have a slightly higher dividend payout than the ordinary shares, thus offering extra protection and a higher yield. The company is benefiting from its 1996 refocusing programme, and cruises are proving popular despite the film Titanic.

Gavin Oldham, chief executive, The Share Centre

Scottish Power - If the proposed merger with US-based PacifiCorp is concluded, the result will be the world's tenth biggest utility company. As it is, its spread of interests, quality management and financial record make the shares suitable for any long-term portfolio.

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