Speculation about Thursday’s announcements cheers investors

Aviva’s shares rose 2.8% to 282.7p in yesterday’s trading amid hopes that the company would announce sales and closures of certain business units.

The stock opened on Monday at 274.9p, having closed at 272.6p on Friday.

The insurer will make a strategy presentation to investors on Thursday. Some reports have suggested that executive chairman John McFarlane will reveal the closure or disposal of between 10 and 15 business units as it aims to cut costs and bolster its capital base.

These are expected to include some of the smaller operations in Asia.

There is also talk that Aviva will try and sell more of its stake in Delta Lloyd, or put its US operations up for sale. Some analysts, however, think this unlikely because of the difficulty in finding buyers.

Aviva’s share price has been under pressure over the past year because of the company’s heavy exposure to debt in peripheral eurozone countries, particularly Italy.

McFarlane has taken the helm of Aviva on an interim basis while the company seeks a replacement for departed chief executive Andy Moss.