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Aviva share price surges despite ‘mixed’ performance

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Aviva’s (LON:AV) share price has climbed more than one percent higher in London this Thursday even as the blue-chip asset manager posted what it referred to as ‘mixed’ first-half performance and said that there was ‘much to do’ to improve performance. The results continue the FTSE 100 asset manager reporting season following Standard Life Aberdeen’s (LON:SLA) results yesterday.

As of 08:55 BST, Aviva’s share price had added 1.23 percent to stand at 386.70p. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently 0.15 percent better off at 7,209.38 points.

‘Mixed’ performance

Aviva announced in a statement today that its operating earnings per share had inched two percent higher to 27.3p in the first six months of the year, while its operating profit rose one percent to £1.45 billion. The blue-chip insurer further hiked its payout to shareholders by three percent to 9.59p per share. Aviva, however, also reported a fall in its Solvency II cover ratio from 204 percent in 2018, to 194 percent, while its Solvency II capital surplus fell to £11.8 billion from £12 billion.

“Aviva has strong foundations to build upon but there is much to do to improve our performance,” the company’s chief executive Maurice Tulloch commented in the statement, adding that the group’s performance was ‘mixed’.

He further noted that the company had decided to review strategic options for its Asian business as part efforts to refresh Aviva’s strategy. The update comes after Reuters reported earlier this month, quoting sources, that the FTSE 100 insurer was looking to sell its Asia business, valuing the unit at more than $2 billion.

Analyst ratings update

Shore Capital reaffirmed the blue-chip insurer as a ‘hold’ today, without specifying a target on the Aviva share price. According to MarketBeat, the FTSE 100 group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average valuation of 492p.

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