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Zurich back on top

European P&C (re)insurance stocks were generally down last week, although the EU finally reached a breakthrough deal on the long-delayed Solvency II regime.

But Zurich regained some investor support after it reported a two-thirds year-on-year increase in its third quarter profit to $1.1bn after tax, beating analyst forecasts and prompting a 3.2 percent uplift in its share price.

The insurance heavyweight also confirmed that it no longer expected to meet some of the three-year financial targets it set itself in 2010, namely at its general insurance arm and US subsidiary, Farmers.

In contrast, German (re)insurer Talanx reported a worse-than-expected 40 percent drop in Q3 profit, stemming from large European cat losses, which triggered a 0.71 percent decline in its share price.

Meanwhile, Swiss Re's shares fell by 2.69 percent last week after talks over the sale of its Admin Re business to Phoenix Group were terminated because they were unable to agree on price.

UK general insurer RSA continued to face share price woes after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the company's credit rating as a result of previously revealed weather-related claims and accounting problems, which caused its shares to weaken by 3.33 percent.

This increased the insurer's year-to-date slump to 16.87 percent.

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