HOW BRITAIN'S BIGGEST HAVE PERFORMED

The best-performing stock on the FTSE-100 index was Cable & Wireless, which rose 14.6 per cent. Most of the gains came in the last half hour of trading on Friday after China Telecom announced it was buying 5.5 per cent of Hong Kong Telecom from C&W for $1.2bn. Cable & Wireless will gain rights to participate in Chinese telecommunications projects. The company said it would use the proceeds to reduce its debt.

The second best-performing stock was Lasmo, which rose 12.5 per cent after the company won a contract to produce oil from Venezuela's Dacion field, which will boost its production by 50 per cent in the next four years. The company is paying $453m and investing $750m in the field to boost production. The project will rival the size of its largest single asset, the stake in the natural gas field in Indonesia.

The worst-performing stock on the index was National Power, which fell 6.3 per cent after the electricity regulator said he remained convinced that vertical integration in the power industry would be anti-competitive and harm the interests of customers. Last year the regulator blocked bids by the power generators for regional electricity companies on the grounds of public interest.

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