The latest ups and downs on the stock market

As stories go, it’s the whopper of all whoppers to excite both the City and financial journalists. It goes something like this: Resolution is lining up a bid to buy Aviva, with a view to spinning off the bulk of its life assets to Prudential and flogging off the general insurance arm to another big player.

Takeover talk saw Aviva’s shares rocket last week from 343p to 367p at time of writing, as investors eyed up a potentially juicy deal. Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes, who put forward the idea last month, believes the strategy has a lot of merit.

But there’s another possible reason for the Aviva bounce, he explains: the insurer has avoided direct exposure to the sovereign debt crisis that htangs over Europe. “They have indicated, although not published anything, that any exposure to the PIG [Portugal, Ireland, Greece] countries, in terms of sovereign debt, is very limited,” he says.

Meanwhile, Jelf’s share price hovered around the 40p mark following news of its debt refinancing deal. Could this be the start of its renaissance on the Alternative Investment Market?

Prices

Market indices AIM movers price 7-day Currency

FTSE 100 5168.72 Aviva 367 7.0% Dollar 1.63

FTSE 250 9079.62 Novae 301 1.7% Euro 1.15

FTSE All-share 2645.23 Hiscox 343 2.4% Yen 141.00