The week's winners

Cox up 5.4%

The week's losers

Zurich Financial Services down 11.8%
Marsh down 10.2%
Bradstock down 10%
Allianz down 9.7%

Fear of war and terrorism are not good for confidence or share prices.

The stock market's continuing jitters over Western action against Iraq are still hitting insurance hard.

The FTSE's 122-point fall on Monday reverberated painfully in the sector, sending just about every insurance share down sharply.

They mostly recovered the next day, but the lesson was clear - action in Iraq will prompt investors to be kind to the risk-bearing industry.

This is despite the fact that, if the conflict that seems increasingly inevitable follows the pattern of the Gulf War, the industry stands to profit. Few claims and many higher premiums should be good news.

Lloyd's chairman Lord Levene pointed out on Wednesday the divergent fortunes of the stock market and Lloyd's over the period since the 11 September attacks.

Speaking at the annual Airmic lecture he said: "While the market cap of FTSE 250 has fallen by more than 30% since September 2001, the market capitalisation of Lloyd's UK quoted businesses is around 50% higher today than it was then.

"While the financial markets enter a period of almost unprecedented turmoil, Lloyd's is not simply a small beam of light - it's a beacon."

What Levene could have done was make the connection between those changes - in a period of high risk, it's not unnatural to expect the (successful) risk businesses to do well.

Someone should tell that to stock market investors.