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Payouts for the Costa Concordia disaster and Superstorm Sandy meant Catlin’s shares were one of the mid-cap index’s biggest losers.

In its annual results on Friday, the insurer said the bill for the liner’s grounding was $16m (£10.2m) above previous estimates, while the storm that battered the US cost $25m more than had been thought.

The disasters dampened pre-tax profits to $339m, below expectations. Catlin fell 20½ to 518p.

Fellow insurer Beazley enjoyed another day of gains after doubling its dividend and announcing it had quadrupled full-year profits on Thursday.

Shore Capital analysts held their “buy” rating, arguing there was “further outperformance to come”, while Nomura raised its target price on the insurer by 22p to 234p. Beazley rose 6.2 to 205.2p.

Financial stocks dominated the blue-chip leaderboard as Chinese trade data beat expectations, boosting hopes of global economic recovery and raising appetite for risk. Old Mutual rose 6.1 to 192p, Standard Chartered gained 44p to £16.94 and HSBC put on 16.3 to 716.7p.

The optimism helped the FTSE 100 climb 35.51 points, to 6,263.93, but could not offset falls earlier in the week. The index posted its first weekly loss of the year, down 1.3pc on last week’s four-and-a-half-year highs. The FTSE 250 closed up 74.60 points at 13,375.25.

Workspace Group was one of the best performers on the mid-cap index, climbing 16.6 to 333.6p after the provider of small business premises said demand for space remained “strong”. Its rent roll rose 4.5pc or £1.9m in the financial year to date.

South African miner Aquarius Platinum was buoyed by interim results showing it had scaled back production costs with the closure of the Marikana and Everest mines. Despite reporting profits down 24pc to $22m, the shares rose as much as 10pc before closing up 1¾ at 70¼p. Peer Lonmin fell 4.3 to 372.6p as analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded it to “neutral” from “outperform”.

Packaging company DS Smith fell 3.2 to 229.8p as it said finance director Steve Dryden intended to step down.

Back among the blue-chips, Vodafone outperformed, adding 2.05 to 173.9p after a Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgrade to “buy”, while Imperial Tobacco fell 47p to £23.00 as Investec cut it to “hold”.

Photo Credit: In this Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, file photo, cars that were uprighted and submerged by Superstorm Sandy remain at the entrance of a subterranean parking garage in New York's Financial District. Richard Drew / Associated Press