The FTSE 100 Index slipped away from the 6,000 mark this afternoon, closing just 6 points, or 0.01%, higher at 5,999 points with life insurers including Legal & General leading the risers.
Life insurers rose after Legal & General reported a 43% jump in operating profits to £1.09bn, up from £745m in 2004. L&G shares rose 7.09% to 143.50p.
Prudential also gained 7.09% to 672p after reports Swiss group Zurich Financial is facing a bid from a US rival.
And Royal & Sun Alliance rose 0.90% to 139.50p on persistent bid speculation from Aviva, AXA or Warren Buffet.
Elsewhere, Premier Oil hit a new all-time high today, rising 0.50% to 909.50p, after it was awarded licences by the Government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in North West Africa.
Lloyds insurer Chaucer was 4.07% higher at 70.25p after it reported pre-tax profits of £11.9m, down from £33m. The dividend for the year is 3.05p, an increase of 10.9%.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at its highest since May 2001, adding 15.77 points, or 0.1%, to 11,269.01 points as signs of tame inflation give investors confidence the Federal Reserve may stop raising interest rates by mid-year.
But GM shares have fallen 52 cents, or 2.3%, to $21.70 after it said 2005 loss will be $10.6bn, wider than the loss of $8.6bn it reported.
AIG has also declined $1.74, or 2.5%, to $67.50. The company reported fourth-quarter profit before some items of 14 cents a share, less than the 19 cents predicted by analysts.IFAonline
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