Prudential Climbs and FTSE Gains

Wed, 19th Nov 2014

Prudential has risen to a new all-time high following an upbeat trading statement. The company’s business has been boosted by selling annuities for company pension schemes.

The insurer said that profit from new business over the first nine months of the year was up by 17% compared to the same period last year, to £1.5 billion. The company gained 15% in new business profit in Asia, 16% from the USA, and an amazing 28% in the UK, lifted by bulk annuity transactions.

Prudential was not the only company to post gains. Overall, the FTSE 100 was up by 37.16 points, closing at 6,709.13 - boosted by better than expected German data, as well as a strong US housebuilders index and optimism that the Japanese economy may be stimulated by a delayed tax increase and the calling of an election.

There was mixed news from the mining sector. Randgold Resources gained 109p, and Fresnillo gained 11p thanks to gold and silver edging higher. However, worries about economic growth in China hit the price of base metals, pushing Rio Tinto down by 54p. China is the biggest consumer of basic materials.

Meanwhile, Astra Zeneca added 88.5p, thanks to an upbeat strategy report. However, there were still some looming concerns over whether their US rival Pfizer would issue a renewed takeover bid. Another major mover was Tullow Oil, who closed up by 16.3p after it announced that it had plans to cut the amount that it was spending on exploration activities.

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