Prudential climbs higher as operating profits rise and Asia soars

British insurer Prudential was the highest climber on the FTSE this morning after reporting a better-than-expected 22 per cent boost in first half operating profits to £1.42bn.

Basic earnings per share also increased 22 per cent, rising to 42.2p from 34.6p in the same period the year before.

The share price this morning increased by more than four per cent at one point, hitting 1,237p before moderating to around 1,213p.

Chief executive Tidjane Thiam dismissed concerns over global volatility and a slowdown in Asia. The latter region remains a "significant opportunity" for the group, he said, thanks largely to the "rapidly growing and increasingly wealthy Asian middle class", particularly in the south-east.

Sales in Asia were up 12 per cent in the first half to £1.01bn - beating in absolute terms both the US (up 11 per cent to £797m) and the UK (up 163 per cent to £355m).

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