Insurers set to reveal scars

TWO of the UK’s biggest insurers, Prudential and Standard Life, battled with volatile markets throughout last year as global recession fears and the eurozone debt crisis took their toll.

The FTSE 100 companies are both expected to reveal income coming under pressure when they publish their final results for 2011 tomorrow as low consumer confidence saw the level of funds going into the businesses shrink.

However, Standard Life chief executive David Nish is expected to unveil a 12 per cent rise in operating profits to £476 million and a rise in the dividend for a sixth year in a row.

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Analysts expect Prudential, which has major operations in Stirling, to post a 2 per cent rise in operating profits to just under £2 billion.

Pressure on Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group intensified last week when retail analyst Philip Dorgan slashed his forecasts for the group’s profits performance

On Thursday, Home Retail is due to update on trading for the final eight weeks of its financial year, although it has warned of a potential cut to its dividend.