Aviva shares climb to four-year high

There was no stopping the rise in Aviva, as shares in the insurer powered on to a four-year high.

As Insurance Times went to press, the shares were trading at 830p as dealers responded positively to last week's strong full-year results.

ABN Amro raised its target price on the stock from 806p to 870p, commenting: "These were a strong set of results, ahead of consensus estimates and, importantly, showing good progress across the board."

The broker added that the board is not ruling out acquisitions, which could fuel speculation of further possible merger and acquisition activity.

Deutsche Bank was also bullish, lifting its target price from 883p to 935p. It has a 'hold' rating on Aviva.

Dealers kept a close eye on Wellington Underwriting. Despite its chief underwriter, David Foreman, retiring. Shares in the insurer rose to 97p. Traders said 96.5p had represented a key level. They said that now it had successfully broken through that barrier, the next resistance level would be 110p.

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