Larger context for LACK in Corpus USbrown_UKbncw/UK_bncw.txt
Among composite insurance companies, General Accident could face the biggest payout, sources said.
Wave of company results Rise in output nudges market up THE stock market yesterday stayed a few points in positive territory for most of the session in advance of the Budget and as a wave of company results gave dealers plenty to digest.
Dealing opened in lacklustre mood but managed to edge up thanks largely to a rise in manufacturing output between December and January.
This confirmed the increase in consumer demand since the start of the year.
Among dozens of companies reporting yesterday was speciality chemicals group Laporte which reported a profits slide of ten per cent and saw its shares slip.
In contrast, construction and minerals group English China Clays jumped despite a 25 pc fall in annual profits.
A maintained dividend and upbeat comments from chairman Lord Chilver about prospects in the U.S. market helped confidence.
HSBC Holdings, which bought Midland Bank last summer, cheered shareholders following a near doubling of annual profits and a strong rise in the dividend payout.
A move by catalogue shopping group Argos to close the four pilot stores of its Chesterman Home Furnishers business was well received by shareholders.