HOW BRITAIN'S BIGGEST HAVE PERFORMED

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The Independent Online
The best-performing stock on the FTSE-100 index last week was LEGAL & GENERAL, which rose 12.2 per cent. It is the leading stock in the insurance sector, which was buoyant overall this week after good figures from Royal Bank of Scotland's insurance unit, Direct Line, reassured investors about the health of the industry.

The second best-performing stock of the week was LLOYDS BANK, which rose 11.6 per cent. This is one of the currently quoted banks with the greatest exposure to the mortgage lending market, as it owns the Cheltenham & Gloucester building society. Bank stocks have soared as investors scramble to build up their weightings ahead of the market listing of the Halifax building society next month. The flotation of four building societies will boost the total market capitalisation of the sector to more than pounds 18bn, and tracking funds have to increase their holdings to match that.

The worst-performing stock on the index was conglomerate BTR, which fell 12 per cent after the company issued a gloomy trading statement and its second profit warning within a year. The company was forced to defend its restructuring strategy while admitting that weak demand and competitive pressures in Germany and Australia would hit margins. Brokers cut profit forecasts by about pounds 150m. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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