With Angelique Ruzicka

As we went to press this week, Chaucer was the only FTSE-listed insurer on our watch list to have recorded a large share price increase – 17.21% to 63p over the week (right). Speculation is rife that the company is up for grabs and that an old suitor, Amlin, is knocking on its door, something both deny.

It is also rumoured that Lloyd’s insurers are struggling to raise capital – hardly surprising in the current environment. A source told me they would probably look for a straight equity placing from fund managers. “It isn’t a secret that the sector would like more capital if they can get it,” he said. “But they would have to come up with a pretty good case on how they would invest the money.”

Also this week, Aviva’s share price rose 23.44% to 296.25p, while Pru’s jumped 10% to 324.5p.

Even the banks had a good time. Shares in Barclays rose 11.74% to 163.7p and shares in Lloyds TSB increased 10.74% to 149.50p. Royal Bank of Scotland enjoyed a rise of 6.69% to 54.2p a share. Perhaps the market is warming up to the bank’s pledge to give at least six months breathing space to homeowners struggling with mortgage payments.