Market Report: Asian assets lifts the Pru on good news day

The man from the Pru was looking sharp as several news items pushed the UK insurer to one of the strongest performers of the day. Prudential ended up 30p at 608p, as Germany's Allianz beat forecasts to post a 23 per cent jump in third-quarter operating profits. The results helped lift insurers across Europe as did a note from ING. The Dutch broker raised its valuation on 12 insurers across Europe, upping the Pru's price target from 392p to 584p.

Yet it was news from France that pushed the Pru up ahead of its UK-listed peers as news emerged that Axa had decided to buy out its Asian assets. The move prompted the market to speculate on the valuation of Prudential's own assets in emerging Asia. Turns out traders valued them pretty highly. Axa suffered slightly different fortunes as it also announced a €2bn capital raising, sending the stock down before crawling back, just, into positive territory.

The FTSE 100 enjoyed a storming start to the week, rising for the fourth session in a row as it followed strength in Japan with the Nikkei up 19 points to 9,808.99. The blue chips were led up by strength from the commodities, with the miners spearheading the index's rise, while the banks also weighed in. It closed up 92.46 points at 5,235.18.

The price of gold hit fresh highs again to a new record of $1,111, while metals including copper, tin and nickel also advanced yesterday. Of the giant miners, Kazakhmys, which has huge copper operations, was the top performer in the sector, rising 73p to 1286p.

Oil prices were up to almost $80 a barrel on the weaker dollar. Big oil also received backing from Cazenove, which said it "may finally be turning itself around" and picked BP and BG Group. "Although the sector has historically showed a tendency to underperform the market during the fourth quarter, we stay overweight on the space to play valuation recovery," the blue-blooded broker said in a note. BP closed up 11.3p at 1403p; BG gained 8.5p to 1090.9p

The banks also had some momentum after a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 nations hosted by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, this weekend. Royal Bank of Scotland ended the top performer of the day, rising 2.3p to 39.3p as the central bankers and ministers said they were not prepared to pull economic stimulus quite yet.

The chatter rose around Inmarsat, which provides satellite communications services to everywhere, Poland aside. The group rose 26p to 621p on numbers that beat consensus expectations by what Jonathan Groocock of Investec called a "frankly astonishing" 9.3 per cent. The share price rise marked its sixth consecutive session gain, closing at a four-year high.

Cadbury soared in the morning as investors licked their lips in anticipation of a sweet bid from Kraft. As soon as the formal offer came out just after lunch, the excitement melted. As Kraft went hostile just hours before the "put up or shut up" deadline from the Takeover Panel, the terms were unchanged. Cadbury's shares slammed into reverse on the news as it rejected the offer. A note of optimism returned before the close as it crept up 3p to 761p.

One stock that did not make it back to positive territory was Cable & Wireless, the telecoms group that unveiled a demerger and a profit warning on Thursday. It fell again as Royal Bank of Scotland analysts cut their target price from 200p to 175p, while Morgan Stanley cut it 20p to 170p. The group closed 2.2p down at 136.8p.

Standout performer on the second line was the engineering group IMI, as it said it would comfortably beat full-year earning expectations. The group has a range of operations from making valves used in power plants, oil and gas production and the like, to "delivering still and carbonated beverage dispensing solutions" – as the jargon heavy website said – which seems to be taps in pubs as far we can make out. The shares soared more than 15 per cent, or 69.7p to 511p, its highest position for more than a year.

IP Group, which specialises in intellectual property, in the wider market was down as it agreed to buy a 19.8 per cent stake in Fusion, a rival based in Yorkshire. The group lost 2.25p to 53p, on the deal that gives it co-investment rights to Fusion's portfolio companies.

On London's growth market AIM, the natural resource companies aped their bigger brothers on the top tier, with Bezant Resources top of the tree at lunchtime. The group, which takes its name from a medieval gold, silver and copper coin, rose 2.25p to 25p. It was overtaken by Euro Nickel, which stormed 11.36 per cent up to 12.25p.

On the downside, Inspired Gaming's share restructuring plan failed to catch investors' imagination. The group fell 4p to 6p as it proposed a reorganisation that would put 90 per cent of the new issued shares in the hands of preference holders. The group, which is a takeover target, wants to simplify the capital structure, but analysts do not think the small shareholders will go for it.

Latchways, the safety products group, saw first half pre-tax profit fall 26 per cent on lower construction sales, and the management didn't have much more good news for the future, although added "specific local events such as the 2012 Olympics will help mitigate this". Confidence itwould emerge from the crunch well placed saw the shares remain flat at 650p.

Life and Style

Do you qualify – and how do you get it?

Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
Privately schooled, Oxford educated and a former editor of arguably the world's poshest magazine 'The Lady', it's perhaps unsurprising that Rachel Johnson rarely mixes with ordinary Proles.

The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM

ebooksNow available in paperback
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environmentNepenthes zygon had been growing for almost a decade and helping to keep down cockroaches
This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development - Telecommunications - £50,000 OTE

£25000 per annum + £50,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Southend, Al...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Agent - £22,000 OTE

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a Call Centre Agent you will...

Citifocus Ltd: Product Development - Asset Management

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with significant product d...

Citifocus Ltd: Credit Ratings - Banking Sector

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Leading global bank seeks experienced credit analy...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital