U.S. equity-index futures are doing well in the early going on Monday, with the differential between the fair value and the level of the S&P 500 indicating an opening pop of more than 1 percent. Of course, all this could change in a heartbeat, with the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, still comparatively high at 21.23.

Equity markets have got off to a strong start in 2012, with the FTSE 100 in striking distance of the 6,000 level on better-than-expected macroeconomic data, particularly in the United States, and more encouraging newsflow on the eurozone. Yet analysts have wideranging views on the sustainability of the rally, in which the UK blue-chip index has advanced 6.6 per cent so far this year.

As economic numbers have beaten expectations in recent months, analysts have raised the bar in terms of the numbers for all sorts of macro data.

Discover the stock-picking strategies for today (Feb 24) as recommended by top brokers along with ratings:

Nomura Securities

Raises 'Aegis' target price to 210p from 200p and recommends 'Buy' rating

Cuts 'Cable & Wireless Communications' price target to 40p from 45p


Raises 'Barratt Developments' price target to 170p from 140p
Raises 'Cove Energy' price target to 195p from 165p and assigns 'Neutral' rating
Raises 'Filtrona' price target to 475p from 435p
Raises 'Logica' price target to 90p from 64p
Raises 'St James's Place' price target to 370p from 350p


Raises 'Drax Group' target price to 425p from 350p
Raises 'Filtrona' target price to 470p from 420p
Raises 'Rexam' target price to 460p from 400p
Raises 'Rotork' target price to 1923p from 1691p
Raises 'Travis Perkins' target price to 1220p from 1025p

JP Morgan

Raises 'Filtrona' price target to 450p from 366p
Raises 'Hays' price target to 79p from 69p
Raises 'St James's Place' price target to 400p from 363p


Raises 'BT Group' price target to 220p from 195p
Cuts 'Inmarsat' price target to 650p from 670p

Goldman Sachs

Raises Logica' price target to 94p from 76p and assigns Equalweight rating

Investec Securities

Raises 'Bodycote' price target to 400p from 325p

BofA Merrill

Raises 'Informa' price target to 475p from 417p