The week's winners
Markel up 2.24%
Wellington up 2%
The week's winnersMarkel up 2.24%Wellington up 2%
The week's losersDom. & Gen. down 4.35%Misys down 8%The big general insurance news of the week was the closure by Aviva of Britain's biggest chain of high street brokers, Hill House Hammond. And while sentiment in the general insurance market was poor stock markets are loving the term and general insurer, which claimed it would exceed market expectations in its year end results due out on 25 February. Aviva said that its operating profit for 2003 would be £1.9bn compared to £1.7bn for 2002.And while the public and the general insurance market have bristled at the company's offshoring and closure of HHH, shareholders are happy with performance and Aviva's shares are near the top of their 52-week high at 537.75p at the close on Monday.Contrast this with Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA). Its shares closed at 97.5p on Monday, which is not bad compared to its recent rights issue price. But on Tuesday, analysts at Commerzbank set a target price of 82p for the shares. "The UK insurance cycle is turning against the group," the analyst said. Commerz-bank said it estimated an across-the-cycle return on equity of around 13%. Its argument is that there are still questions that need to be answered about reserving, especially in the UK. Finally, fancy a bet? Well AIM is flavour of the month with plenty of capital being attracted to the 'alternative investments'. So how about Aquilo - the group headed by Mike Eve and Clive Nicholls, who has now been promoted to group chief executive. It has announced plans to float on AIM with the intention of being capitalised at £50m by 2006.