Oct. 19--Prudential's boss Tidjane Thiam has always been a long-term admirer of AIA.
He attempted to buy the Asian business of US insurer AIG in a controversial pounds sterling 24.6bn deal a few years ago but had to walk away after major shareholders refused to back a massive pounds sterling 14.5bn cash-call to help pay for it.
Thiam was then later personally censored by the FSA and the Pru fined pounds sterling 30m for failing to be 'open' and 'co-operative' with the City watchdog over the proposed deal, which the FSA only found out about through the media.
He would probably still love to get his hands on AIA and was not surprised to hear that AIA posted record third-quarter results after new business rose by 26pc.
The news had buyers piling into Pru's shares which soared 50p to a 52-week high of 1264p.
AIA's figures augur well for the Pru as it has big business interests in Asia, where it also has a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Pru's first-half operating profit rose by 22pc to pounds sterling 1.4bn with new business profit up 11pc to pounds sterling 1.3bn with strong growth in Asia.
The insurance giant was in the vanguard of the fabulous Footsie's 46.42 point gain to 6,622.58. Fund managers acquired blue chips on the perception that the Fed will now delay the tapering of its $85bn-a-month bond buying programme.
Wall Street traded 3.72 points up at 15,375.37 in early trading. All New York eyes were focused upon Google's shares, which hit $1,000 for the first time following forecast busting quarterly profits. General Electric also responded to better-than-expected figures with a rise of 2pc.
Only a week after its spectacular market debut, Footsie bound Royal Mail closed 22.5p better at 502.5p, valuing it at pounds sterling 5bn, thus delivering a tasty 52pc premium to those fortunate investors who were able to get stock at 330p.
An IC investment recommendation lifted Babcock International 27p to 1207p.
Shrugging off a Panmure Gordon sell recommendation ahead of Tuesday's interims, Costa Coffee-to-Premier Inn leisure giant Whitbread jumped 77p to 3351p.
Investec banking guru Ian Gordon put the boot into Royal Bank of Scotland, 4.2p easier at 372.2p.
He reckons the 81pc taxpayer-owned bank will fall back into the red during the second-half of 2013, with most of the damage coming in the final quarter.
Gordon says the key reason for caution remains RBS' weak 'core' earnings. The pounds sterling 0.5bn first-half decline in 'core' pre-tax profit to pounds sterling 2.5bn entirely reflected a sharply lower contribution from its Markets unit. He expects the division to barely achieve break-even in the third-quarter.
All bets were off bookmaker William Hill, 13.3p down at 403.5p, after JP Morgan downgraded to underweight from overweight and slashed its target price to pounds sterling 4 from 550p.
Mining stocks were boosted by news that China, the world's second-biggest economy, grew 7.8pc in the third-quarter.
Silver miner Fresnillo jumped 36p to 988.5p and Polymetal International 31p to 601p.
Anglo American, on the other hand, cheapened 21p to 1532p. Iron ore production was down 24pc in the third quarter. During which time it withdrew from the Pebble copper project and sold its Amapa iron company in Brazil.
Online fashion retailer ASOS jumped 61p to 5366p in anticipation of Wednesday's annual results.
HSBC has raised its target price to an incredible 7160p from 4380p, while Panmure Gordon is also bullish with a price target of 5950p. The group's international business is said to be leaving the UK well behind. Nervous selling ahead of Wednesday's trading update dragged Computacenter 25.5p lower at 543p. Broker UBS didn't help the cause by cutting to neutral from buy.
Television broadcaster STV featured a gain of 23p at 296p after Liberum Capital advised clients to buy with a target price of 440p.
The broker lifted its earnings per share forecast for the current year by 8.2pc to 32.5p and by 18.2pc to 42.8p for next year because of rising expectations for the UK TV advertising market.
StatPro improved 2.5p to 95p after reporting third-quarter trading was in line with expectations with a higher rate of new business signed for its fast-growing cloud-based portfolio analysis service, StatPro Revolution. Annualised recurring revenue here surged by around 85pc in the nine months to end-September to pounds sterling 2.8m.
After reporting a 5pc rise in sales for the three months to end-September, instrumentation and controls group Spectris rose 26p to 2250p.