Market Report: Admiral motors ahead after a 'baked potato' year

Admiral's chief executive, Henry Engelhardt, called last year a "baked potato" for the insurer but investors were keen to tuck in, sending the company straight to the top of the Footsie.

Cardiff-based Admiral revealed a 7 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £370m, ahead of estimates, despite falling car insurance prices. With few other stand-out numbers about, investors piled into what Toby Morris at CMC Markets called "a comfort food set of results", sending Admiral 107p higher to 1,526p.

It has been a roller-coaster week for Randgold Resources. Panicked investors snapped up the Mexican-focused gold miner at the beginning of the week as Russia marched into Ukraine, but swiftly dumped it a day later when Randgold published disappointing annual results.

Yesterday the miner was back at the top of the table, up 169p to 5,050p, after an upgrade from Nomura. In a note on the gold market titled "A Phoenix Rising", the broker said it thinks the precious metal is entering a new three-year phase of rising prices.

It was a different story for the Australian miners Rio Tinto, down 112.5p to 3,269p, and BHP Billiton, off 44p at 1,883p, after news from their biggest customer, China. Premier Li Keqiang said the economy will this year move away from construction and towards consumer spending.

The turnaround specialist Melrose was the day's biggest faller, despite almost doubling profits last year. The company, off 25.5p at 302.4p, warned that "sales growth remains challenging".

Housebuilders were on the slide after Credit Suisse declared that any benefit from the current property boom was already priced in. Barratt Development dug down 8.2p to 443.6p, Bellway slid 29p to 1,660p, Persimmon was off 36p at 1,433p and Taylor Wimpey tumbled 3.5p to 121p.

The blue-chip index was more subdued after Tuesday's rally, with the FTSE 100 down 48.35 points at 6,775.42. On the mid-cap index, the telecoms and data service provider Colt Group, up 8.9p at 140.9p, was top of the table after BNP Paribas followed a number of other brokers in upgrading the firm.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada