The Insider 50 makes third consecutive weekly gain

Around three quarters of P&C (re)insurance stocks closed the week higher on Friday, driving the Insider 50 up by 1.0 percent.

The index has now reached 1,108.8 points, the highest level since mid-November. This translates into an increase of 10.9 percent for the year so far.

The I50 beat major market benchmarks last week, as the Stoxx Europe 600 grew by 0.8 percent, while the FTSE 100 fell by 1.0 percent.

Over in the US, the S&P 500 nudged up by 0.4 percent.

Global insurers posted the largest growth last week with a weighted average increase of 1.5 percent, with Australia-based QBE leading the group.

QBE’s shares surged by 9.4 percent. The company reported a $390mn profit for 2018 after a $1.25bn loss in 2017. However, QBE’s European operations suffered as pre-tax profit at the business fell by 7 percent to $311mn.

Shares in Axa rose by 4.1 percent.

Elsewhere, shares in London-listed Hiscox were up by 2.1 percent. It reported a 2018 profit of $137.4mn, which is more than three times that of the prior year.

Shares in Lancashire Holdings grew by 3.1 percent, but Beazley’s stock slumped by 2.3 percent.

The London sub-group climbed by just 0.7 percent last week, ending its three-week streak of being the I50’s best-performing cohort.

Meanwhile, Universal Holdings was the biggest faller in The Insurance Insider’s wider coverage after it reported Q4 results.

Its shares closed Friday 19 percent lower after it reported a pre-tax loss of $11.2mn for the quarter, compared to a $58.6mn profit in the prior-year period.

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