Close benefits from markets rise

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The Independent Online

Winterflood, the biggest market-maker for private client stockbroking, has enjoyed a boost since the start of the year as the stock market has risen.

"January was better than December and February and March have seen trade hold up well," Preben Prebensen, the chief executive of parent company Close Brothers, said. "But for this to turn into a sustained trend we need to see retail investors following through buying equities and a continuation of the current flow of IPOs."

Close's profit before tax grew by 16 per cent to £77.3m, and the dividend for the half goes up 1p to 15p a share.