HOW BRITAIN'S BIGGEST HAVE PERFORMED

The best performing stock in the FT-SE 100 this week was Standard Chartered, which gained 6.2 per cent after the company said pre-tax profit rose 32 per cent last year to pounds 870m on the back of a strong performance in personal banking in Hong Kong.

The worst performing stock was also a bank. National Westminster fell 6.6 per cent over the week as 1996 pre-tax profit dropped a worse-than- expected 36 per cent after extraordinary charges for selling its US retail bank and reorganisation charges wiped out gains in retail and investment banking. Late news that the company is to take a pounds 50m charge after finding "mispricing errors" in its interest-rate options records is expected to hurt it this week.

EMI, the music company, also fell 6.6 per cent on a warning that the strength of sterling could curb profits this financial year by up to pounds 25m. EMI generates about 75 per cent of sales outside the UK, predominantly in Europe.

The worst performing stock over the last three months - LucasVarity, which has fallen 17.2 per cent since the start of December - recovered some sparkle. It was the second biggest gainer in the week, up 5.2 per cent as brokers upgraded their recommendation for the shares. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg.

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