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Centrica shows biggest gain on weak day for index.

Byline: FTSE 100 ADAM MARTELL Brewin Dolphin

THE FTSE 100 index dropped 0.6%, or 40.8 points, yesterday, to give a closing value of 6811.6 points.

The Information Technology, Industrial and Financial sectors were amongst the weaker areas of the UK stock market. Only the Utilities sector, an area typically exhibiting a more defensive approach, ended the day in positive territory.

Indeed, it was one of the UK's main utility companies, Centrica, operator of British Gas, which rose highest on an otherwise weak day for the index. Centrica was up 4.2%, or 11.3p, closing at 282.7p for the day. The rise comes a day after all but one of the major utilities companies announced price cuts to energy tariffs for consumers. Elsewhere in the sector, SSE and United Utilities were also positive, adding 1.9% and 1.7%, respectively.

Shares in International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) also remained in favour with investors, with news that the board of Aer Lingus, the Irish airline for which IAG have made a bid, is set to recommend the offer to shareholders. The shares added a further 2.2%, or 12p, finishing at 561p.

Within the Financials sector of the FTSE 100 index, British Land, an investment trust company which owns a range of office and retail properties across the UK, issued a trading statement for the final three months of 2014.

Many of its assets are in London and the South East, and the company reported strong demand for office space in London, particularly from the technology sector, with occupancy rates across this area of the business up to 96.7% from 95%.

Despite falling 1.1%, or 9.5p, by the end of trading, the shares have gained 18% over the last three months.

In economic news, the Office for National Statistics stated that UK gross domestic product expanded by 0.5% in the final three months of the year.

adam.martell@brewin.co.uk

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 28, 2015
Words:328
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