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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen within th...

Ashdown Group: Development Manager - Rickmansworth - £55k +15% bonus

£50000 - £63000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / D...

Recruitment Genius: Security Officer

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Applicants must hold a valid SIA Door Su...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - City, London

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - The C...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss