RAC buy lifts Aviva prospects

Aviva was chased higher this week, as dealers welcomed the company's update on its recent acquisition of the RAC.

Credit Suisse First Boston raised its target price on the stock to 735p from 716p and repeated its outperform rating, saying: "We believe targets for growing the RAC customer base and cross-selling are achievable."

Credit Suisse added that Aviva's recent seminar on its property and casualty insurance operation further strengthened its strong outlook.

As Insurance Times went to press, Aviva was trading at around 649p a share.

Dealers also focused on Prudential, ahead of chief executive Mark Tucker's strategy update this week.

Fox-Pitt, Kelton underplayed Prudential's recent exposure to the negative interest spread in Taiwan. "We believe market fears are overdone. The shares look attractive at the current price."

But JP Morgan repeated its own underweight recommendation, saying: "There may be little Tucker can reveal to positively affect sentiment. We continue to advise a switch out of Prudential and into Aviva." Prudential shares are trading at 484.5p.

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