Strong results from Prudential helped the FTSE to a gain of about 12 points to 4,300 this morning.
The insurer is up 8p to 441p after reporting a jump in profits to £314m from £76m in the same period last year, helped by a revamped sales strategy and stronger consumer demand for savings products.
Aviva has followed suit, gaining 9.5p to 534p, while Royal & Sun Alliance is up 1.25p to 76.25p.
L&G is up 1.25p to 94.25p.
AstraZenica is up 33p to 2,413p after analysts at Citygroup upgraded their recommendation to ‘buy’.
Reuters is down 11.25p to 311.75p after issuing a profits warning, stating revenues may not kickstart until 2006.
British American Tobacco is down 19p to 824p after France reported a 21% drop in sales of tobacco products after tax increases made cigarettes more expensive there than in any bordering country bar the UK.
Gallaher is down 6p to 654.5p.
BP is down 5.25p to 484.5p following additional concerns over company rights in Russia following the government’s latest allegations against another director of the country’s biggest listed oil company Yukos. BP has committed several billion pounds to investments in Russia.
US stocks remained relatively unchanged overnight as investors drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average index down just 0.30 points to 9,961.92, while the broader S&P 500 index dropped 2.13 points to 1,084.07.Nasdaq’s Composite shed 10.07 points to 1,839.02.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 128.01 points to 11,031.54 after news courts have thrown a spanner into the planned merger of Tokyo Mitsubishi and UFJ to create the world’s biggest bank.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is down 18.51 points to 12,301.32.IFAonline
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