THURSDAY’S credit rating downgrade by Moody’s for Spain did the local equity market few favours and while we may still be some way above the 12 months lows of May 2010 when the Spanish stock index, Ibex, hit 8,562, the near term challenge will likely be holding onto the psychologically significant 10,000 level. The current IG Index price on the Spain 35 Daily cash is 10,395-10,400.

Although insurers have had a great few months, up 30 per cent since last December, the latest news on the tsunami and earthquake that have just hit Japan will not be welcomed by the sector. Japan is likely to be a big market for many of the big insurers and they have all taken a hit since the news has come out.

Prudential has raised its dividends by 20 per cent on the back of operating profits up 24 per cent to £1.9bn for 2010. However, this news from Japan may have thrown a short term spanner in its works. Capital Spreads quotes 722.1p-723.4p.

Financial services group Close Brothers announced Friday that it was selling its Close Brothers Offshore Group for £29.1m to Kleinwort Benson. Close Brothers will also update the market with its latest set of numbers on Tuesday on the back of what has been a very healthy six months for its shares, having gained by some 30 per cent.

Any dips to the 825p-835p region could be used to buy some shares for another run at 900p. Spread Co offers a spread on Close Brothers of 863.9p-866.7p.