Insurance shares drift despite good news

Insurance stocks have largely drifted this week as the main market continues to see sideways trading.

Amlin, despite a recent 'buy' recommendation from Seymour Pierce, has had trouble breaking the 240p level.

Three of the last four trading sessions has seen the company open at 240p and immediately head straight down.

Shares in Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) spent much of the last week looking for direction. Despite gaining ground on the back of job cuts and new growth targets, the shares managed to close at the same price for three sessions on declining volume.

JP Morgan said its outlook for R&SA, currently at 128.25p, was neutral, arguing that all non-life companies will be looking to ensure their cost bases remain competitive.

The share price of recently-listed Novae, the rebranded and relaunched SVB, has run into difficulty.

The stock has fallen more than 12% from its high of 30.25p, soon after shares began trading, to the current price of 26.50p.

Hiscox shares headed lower as it struggles to break the down trend that has been in place since the peak of 261p it reached in mid-March.

Hiscox's gross written premium to May 2006 increased 30% against 2005 to more £500m.

The shares are currently trading at 210p.

The largest faller of the week was AIM-listed LitComp, which has fallen over 30% since Friday to 47p from a high of 63p