Goshawk share slump

The insurance sector was out of favour this week as Goshawk said it will miss the regulatory deadline for posting its 2005 results, and AXA denied it was considering a bid for Prudential.

Goshawk Insurance Holdings was the worse off, tumbling 11% on Monday after warning the delay in filing would lead to trading in its shares being suspended from 2 May.

The troubled insurer, which suffered a share price slump from 46p a year ago on the back of hurricane losses, said the full-year results statement would be issued no later than 19 May and trading would be resumed.

Goshawk explained the delay as, following the placing of its reinsurance division Rosemont Re in October into run-off after it suffered substantial losses, it would take longer than usual to prepare and audit the results. But investors were unsympathetic and the stock fell to 5.25p.

Prudential was also on the slide after AXA quashed dealers' hope that a tie-up was on the cards. It said in a statement that it "confirms unequivocally that it is not in talks with Prudential regarding a merger, offer or similar transaction, and that it has no plan or intention to engage in any such discussion".

With Aviva and AXA now ruling themselves out of a bid for Prudential, as Insurance Times went to press, it was trading at 660p. Last month Prudential shares hit a four-year high of 743.5p

' Yvette Essen is stock market reporter and insurance correspondent for The Daily Telegraph