HOW BRITAIN'S BIGGEST HAVE PERFORMED

The best-performing stock on the FT-SE 100 last week was Centrica, which rose 10.9 per cent. This is the natural gas products marketing company which was formerly part of British Gas. Analysts recommended the stock after a recent briefing from the company about the level of competition in its gas supply business and the progress of its "Goldfish" credit card. Speculation about the level of the windfall tax in the Budget left the shares unchanged at the end of the week.

The second best-performing stock was National Westminster, which rose 8.6 per cent. The bank released the findings of its internal report on losses in an options pricing scandal that cost it pounds 90m. Six investment bankers resigned from NatWest Markets following the publication of the report, which confirmed the losses were confined to the London interest rate options business and that there was no evidence of loss to clients or personal gain.

The worst-performing stock was BSkyB, which fell 8.9 per cent. It has been forced by the regulator to sell its shareholding in British Digital Broadcasting because of fears it would become too dominant in the industry. BDB is likely to become the first real rival to BSkyB in the UK pay-TV market. BSkyB will, however, supply programming and has separate plans to introduce as many as 200 channels of satellite-delivered digital television next year. The shares were further depressed by talk that it has not yet negotiated the rights to supply Premier League football to digital TV. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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