Market Report: Asian insurer AIA boosts Prudential


As Chinese GDP data boosted the Footsie, sparkling results from an Asian insurer propelled Prudential to the top of the table.

AIA, the second-largest Asia-based insurer by market value, soared in Hong Kong after a better-than-expected third-quarter update, and in turn insurance giant Prudential was the top performer in London.

The boost from AIA comes three years after the Pru’s failed bid for the group. It was fined £30m by Financial Services Authority because it failed to inform it of plans to buy AIA at the time. Prudential produced a 50p rise to 1,264p.

Traders’ interest in the insurer came as the wider outlook for the markets was reasonably optimistic. The good Chinese GDP data – the country’s economy advanced 7.8 per cent between July and September against a year earlier – helped stocks that supply to the region. The FTSE 100 rose 46.42 points to 6,622.58, up 2.08 per cent since the start of the week – having already been assisted by the government stalemate resolutions in the US.

Miners were some of the stocks that benefited from renewed confidence in Asian growth. Mexican silver digger Fresnillo jumped 36p to 988.5p.  Conversely a mixed production update from Anglo American pushed it back 21p to 1,532p – largely held back by a disappointing iron ore division.

Royal Mail began unconditional trading on Tuesday, and is now 52.3 per cent above its float price of 330p – further evidence it was underpriced. The 500-year-old post group’s shares remained one of the most actively traded stocks. Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at the stockbroker Interactive Investor, said: “Royal Mail is almost certain to be included in the FTSE 100 in December, which should provide underlying support... as more institutional investors are forced to invest. So far, we have seen some significant purchases by ISA investors looking for longer-term income.”

Not many punters are betting against a continuation of this rise either. According to short-seller watcher Markit, well under 1 per cent of the shares are on loan. Markit director Alex Brog said: “There does not seem to be much appetite to bet against it. Following a float, we often see initial borrowing demand for market-making purposes so this points to less interest from short-sellers.”

Royal Mail picked up another 22.5p – smashing through the £5 mark – and closed at 502.5p.

Royal Bank of Scotland, another eventual Government stake sell-off target, got the sell treatment from analysts at Investec, who advised investors they should “never own RBS into the numbers”. Its third-quarter results are due next month. RBS lost 4.2p to 372.7p.

Analysts at JP Morgan took a look at the betting industry and decided it is time to sell bookie William Hill. They rated it underweight, down from overweight, and gave it a 400p price target as it collapsed 13.3p to 403.5p. JP Morgan’s betting boffins preferred mid-tier-listed Betfair, which is awarded  a 1,000p price target, up from 825p, and a neutral rating on shares that  collected a 23p rise to 1,025p.

Ahead of logistics specialist Stobart Group’s results next week, short interest has reached an annual high of 8.5 per  cent, according to Markit. More than 75 per cent of the shares that can be borrowed are out on loan. Stobart added 0.75p to 127.25p.

On AIM, online fashion group Asos still can’t put a foot wrong with analysts despite its huge valuation. Ahead of its results next week, scribblers at HSBC rated it overweight, a buy, and hiked their target price to 7,160p, a huge jump from their previous 4,380p. It sashayed up 61p to 5,366p.

Water treatment group Amiad Water Systems tumbled 44p to 281p after a warning that its full-year profit would be hit by project delays and a first-half slowdown in the US and India. It said that profit could be as low as $4m (£2.5m).

Breath-test technology specialist Akers Bioscience inhaled a 0.55p rise to 2.875p after it emerged late on Thursday that Henderson fund manager Rob Giles has personally bought a 6.5 per cent stake. The group is developing a test to detect early signs of lung cancer and sells alcohol testing equipment in France.



Snap up shares in STV, Liberum Capital suggests. The broker said the telly group, which holds the Scottish ITV1 licence, is likely to be doing well following news that ITV’s advertising is “looking stronger”. Liberum raised their target price to 440p for shares that are 296p.


Man Group

Flog shares in Man Group, Jefferies recommends. The broker admits the hedge fund group’s assets under management have risen, but revenues are down. Jefferies says “Man’s bind” is that “the assets being lost are the highly profitable ones.” It rated it underperforming with a 70p price target for shares that are 86.9p.


Provident Financial

Hang on to Provident Financial, Peel Hunt advises. The broker thinks the door-to-door lending business’s weak consumer credit arm is offset by its credit card outfit Vanquis. Its third quarter update this week revealed overall trading “remains on track” Peel thinks, and gave it a 1,570p price target for shares that are 1,576p.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
newsJohn Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Bey can do it: Beyoncé re-enacts Rosie the Riveter's pose
newsRosie the Riveter started out as an American wartime poster girl and has become a feminist pin-up. With Beyoncé channeling her look, Gillian Orr tells her story
Life and Style
Donna and Paul Wheatley at their wedding
healthShould emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
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

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?

Some couples are allowed emergency hospital weddings, others are denied the right. Kate Hilpern reports on the growing case for a compassionate cutting of the red tape
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit