The latest ups and downs on the stock market

While it is still unclear whether Canopius will succeed in acquiring rival Lloyd’s insurer Omega Insurance Holdings, the news that it has tried has boosted Omega’s share price. The shares were trading at 96p as 2010 drew to a close, but were trading at 104p at the end of last week.

The apparent ambivalence towards Canopius’s advances shown by both Omega and its biggest shareholder, Invesco Perpetual (which holds a 29.5% stake in the firm), seems to have done little to dampen the market’s enthusiasm for the deal. While some have questioned Canopius’s appetite to bid higher, the temptation of a stock market listing might bring it back for more.

Another one-time target, Hardy, is still flying high. The Lloyd’s insurer’s share buy-back plan continues apace and the decision to reduce its Australia exposure after last year’s hailstorm losses now looks shrewd.

However, the share price of Novae has declined 6% over the past week, the biggest fall of the UK listed insurers.

The biggest share price rise was Aviva’s 4.9%. Chief executive Andrew Moss’s lunch meeting with analysts at the start of the year seems to have reassured the market that the insurer is on track.