Tale of two fortunes

It was a tale of two fortunes this week with Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) climbing to a fresh three-and-a-half year high and Jardine Lloyd Thompson crashing to its lowest level since June 2005.

Both moves were principally driven by recent trading updates. Analysts responded positively to R&SA full year results last week, pushing the shares up to 136p on Monday.

UBS raised its target price on the stock from 110p to 128p and raised its 2006 earning per share estimate from 10.69p to 11.86p, saying: "We see the shares underpinned while the company continues to deliver strong earnings."

Ratings agency Moody's also upgraded its outlook on the company's European operations to "positive".

Meanwhile, Jardine's miserable results caused the shares to fall to 362p as Insurance Times went to press.

Yet it was not just figures which were responsible for the companies trading in different directions. Hopes of a bid for R&SA resurfaced, this time with private equity companies said to be potential predators.

Jardine was also weaker, underperforming a generally stronger market on chatter that broker may need to raise money to plug its pension fund deficit. According to dealers, a rights issue could be on the cards.

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