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March 15, 2006    

London markets gain on heavy BP trade

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by Elaine Frei

The London equities markets were up on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 gaining 0.2 percent to 5,965 and the FTSE 250 gaining 0.9 percent to 9,729.0.

Asset managers had a good day on positive comments about the sector from Morgan Stanley. Aberdeen Asset Management gained 6.9 percent to 186p, while Amvescap advanced by 4.2 percent to 550p. Elsewhere in the sector, Deutsche Bank issued an initial “buy” rating and set a 440p share price target on New Star Asset Management, which gained 6.8 percent on the day to 402¾p.

Utilities were up on high electricity prices. British Energy gained 3.9 percent to 646p, while International Power was up 1.1 percent to 277p and National Grid added 0.9 percent to 603½p.

In the retail sector, Woolworths gained 4.1 percent to 37¾p after rumors circulated that the Reuben Brothers have been buying shares in the company.

Insurer Prudential was up 0.9 percent on the day to 609½p on talk that there might be a bid for it soon and ahead of an earnings report due Thursday.

BP gained 2.2 percent to 665p and over 180 million shares in the company were traded after an analyst’s comments that it would be better off if it were to separate its upstream and downstream components.

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