Sighs of relief all round this week as Amlin, Wellington and Brit all reported healthy interims (see stories on pages 4 and 6). And despite two bad hurricanes and the threat of a soft market, all three saw share price rises. Investors, it seems, have been convinced that reserving is adequate and that the soft market is not yet biting.
Amlin reported on Monday and saw its share price reach 153p on Tuesday, compared to 142p on 9 August. The results had a knock-on effect for Brit. Its shares rose to 77.25p on Tuesday, after being as low as 72p on
16 August. Wellington Underwriting shared the joy. On Tuesday it rose to 84.5p compared to a low of 80p on 9 August.
But it wasn't all good news at Lloyd's. SVB's share price dropped to 25.75p on Tuesday from just over 36p on 9 August after it said that while the 2002 year of account had shown further satisfactory performance, the progress had been "countered by adverse experience from SVB's discontinued units." The profit forecast for non-marine Syndicate 1007 was reduced from 12%-17% to 7.5%-12.5%, while the forecast for Syndicate 1241 fell from a loss of between 2% and 3% to a loss of between 15% and 20%.
SVB chief executive Matthew Fosh said: "Much of SVB's underwriting between 1997 and 2000 has turned out to be even poorer than we had estimated."
While Goshawk and SVB shares traded low, there was no news from Capital Insurance Holdings - the putative consolidator. Surely now is the time to strike.
On AIM, The Broker Network has acquired Castle Douglas-based broker Ewen C Mair & Co, its eighth acquisition since the beginning of 2004. The stock was unmoved at 74.5p. Community Broking Group reported pre-tax profits of £148,000 for the six months ended 30 June, up from the £107,000 reported for the first half of 2003.