BP and Shell updates due this week

The UK’s quarterly results season kicks off this week with updates from oil majors BP and Shell and key players in the insurance sector.

The stock market will be looking for words of reassurance from major players Aviva and Standard Life when the pair provide trading updates this week.

Standard Life, which updates on Thursday, has suffered particularly heavy falls amid the recent sector sell-off.

Investors have been heading for the exit as concerns grow over the ability of insurers to weather the sharp stock market falls, as well as their exposure to corporate bonds and potentially toxic asset-backed securities.

The Financial Services Authority unnerved many when it revealed in a recent briefing note on the sector that it had found “weaknesses” in systems and controls for calculating risks with some of these products.

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