FTSE 100 CLOSE: Prudential tops FTSE after strong full-year

Life insurer Prudential was the strongest climber at the close of trading after being buoyed by strong full-year results.

Pru saw its pre-tax profits lifted by 33% to £1.9 billion, buoyed by its Asian life business.

Tidjane Thiam, group chief executive of Pru, says: “Prudential has delivered another strong performance in 2011 led by Asia, where our life insurance business for the first time became the single largest contributor to our group IFRS operating profit.

“Since 2008, Asia’s contribution to this benchmark profit measure has almost trebled from £257mto £709m.”

The insurer saw its share price lifted by 4.8% to 763p.

In a day of strong gains for the FTSE 100 index, Vedanta Resources also rose by 4.5% to 1,430p, while International Consolidated Airlines Group increased by 4.4% to 170.4p. (article continues below)

Intercontinental Hotels Group and Legal & General both rose by 3.4% to 1,497p and 125.3p, respectively.

Antofagasta closed the day as the biggest faller, dropping 2.3% to 1,241p, after earlier announcing a lower final dividend than 2010.

Security services firm G4S dropped 2.1% to 283.5p, while Randgold Resources fell 0.8% to 7,110p.

Biopharmaceutical company Shire slipped 0.6% to 2,230p, as asset manager Ashmore dropped 0.3% to 380.7p.