It was a choppy week for the FTSE-100 (UKX) this week. Chancellor George Osborne reportedly blamed the weather for an unexpected half percent contraction in the size of the UK economy during the fourth quarter of last year. Whether or not his assessment was correct, the figures sent a chill through the market.  Supporting Osborne’s view, the UK’s Office for National statistics blamed December’s snow for a market decrease in pre-Christmas trading, with advisory firm Deloitte calculating that retailers alone lost £750m of sales because of the weather. With VAT rises, inflation rises and fuel rises all expected to dampen public enthusiasm for getting out to the shops, Deloitte said it expected no growth, and possibly a dip, during the rest of 2011.

After a bright start on Monday, the FTSE 100 lost ground Tuesday on the GDP data news but went on to rise through the week before jitters set in on Friday ahead of US GDP figures and a return to worries over sovereign debt. In a note to investors on Friday, Angus Campbell, head of sales at trading firm London Capital Group, said concern had shifted away from Europe towards Japan, whose credit rating was cut by Standard and Poor's on Thursday. Japan is one of the worst offenders when it comes to budget deficits, with a public debt that is double the size of economy.

With this somewhat gloomy backdrop, it proved a good week for the insurance sector. The best FTSE 100 performer was Resolution (LON:RSL), the insurance focused investor focused on buying and merging U.K. life insurers, which saw a 7% gain. The Resolution share price has suffered in the last year as prospective acquisition targets have rebounded from the financial crisis. However, CEO John Tiner indicated in an interview this week that the Company will achieve its annual rate of return target even if it doesn’t make another acquisition. Separately, the company announced that Andy Briggs, ex CEO of Scottish Widows, will become chief executive of Friends Provident , joining from Lloyds Banking Group where he is currently CEO of General Insurance.

Elsewhere in insurance land, Aviva’s share price was up almost 4% while the U.K.’s largest insurer by market value, Prudential (LON:PRU) also had a good week, with the Pru share price up almost 6%.  CEO, Tidjane Thiam indicated in an interview at the Davos Forum that…

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