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Biggest USlisting in 18 months sparks optimism

SHARES of Verisk Analytics, an insurance risk specialist, rose 23 per cent in their first day of trading on Nasdaq yesterday, after the company completed the largest IPO by a US firm in 18 months.<br /><br />Verisk shares immediately jumped 22.7 per cent when trade began, adding to hope that the equity markets are out of the doldrums. In mid-day trading, Verisk shares were at $27.06 (&pound;16.90), or 23 per cent above the IPO price of $18.<br /><br />Verisk, which collects actuarial and underwriting data related to US property and casualty insurance risks, was controlled by a group of property and casualty insurance companies.<br /><br />Warren Buffett&rsquo;s Berkshire Hathaway was the only major investor not to sell any shares in the biggest listing since Visa in March 2008.<br /><br />&ldquo;We have a very strong cash flow, so we will continue our acquisitions,&rdquo; chief executive Frank Coyne said.