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The best performing stock last week was Centrica, the gas marketing company hived off from the former British Gas. The stock had suffered a dismal performance, falling 22.2 per cent since trading started in mid- February as takeover hopes faded and income funds were sold because of the lack of dividend. The shares bounced 11.9 per cent to 63.5p last week after a leading broker recommended them as a buy with a target price of 73p.

The Energy Group, the Anglo-American coal-mining and electricity company which was recently demerged from Hanson, was the second-best performing share last week, gaining 9 per cent. The company is buying US-based Citizens Lehman Power, which arranges power sales between utilities, for $120m. It unveiled its strategy for the future to analysts last week.

Hanson, the rump of the former conglomerate comprising the building materials business, was the worst performer on the FT-SE 100, falling 5.4 per cent. The company announced its first US acquisition on 20 March of a concrete pipes company, but investors and analysts are keen to see the company prove itself in the post-demerger world before favouring the stock. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg