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The best performing sector of the week was engineering and vehicles, up 2.54 per cent. Gains were led by T&N, up 6.9 per cent ahead of annual results this week.

The smaller financial sector (other financials) rose 2.15 per cent, boosted by an 18.6 per cent gain in Union plc, the former discount house, after it put itself up for sale and said it will no longer trade for itself following an unprofitable second half last year.

THE WORST performing sector was gas distribution, which fell 4.35 per cent. British Gas fell 4.5 per cent having announced a pounds 379m loss in the last quarter of 1996 after reorganisation charges and supply contract renegotiations. Recently demerged Centrica's shares lost another 4 per cent on worries about losing small users when the market opens to competition next year. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg.