Markets: Best and worst performing sectors

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The best performing sector last week was tobacco, which rose 3.72 per cent on news that US tobacco companies are negotiating with the US government and industry opponents. This fuelled hopes for a settlement of health-related litigation, which will place a figure on liability claims. BAT Industries was the major beneficiary, rising 3.9 per cent.

The second best performing sector was distributors, which rose 3.7 per cent. Inchcape rose 5.8 per cent after brokers upgraded their forecasts. The company imports Japanese cars and is a major beneficiary of yen weakness.

The worst performing sector was engineering, which fell 2.17 per cent, pulled down by the decline in LucasVarity's shares. The paper and packaging sector fell 1.77 per cent, depressed by an announcement from Jefferson Smurfit that its US subsidiary made a loss in the first quarter. Offsetting this was De La Rue, whose shares rose 3 per cent after the bank note makers said they will reorganise, shedding 400 jobs at a cost of pounds 15m. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg