Balfour Beatty's market update this morning made fairly unexciting reading.

Apart from the news that a couple of PFI schemes have been pushed back due to the current market malaise, the 354 words didn't add much to its interim results eight weeks ago.

Same story for Carillion a fortnight ago - whose brief update, six weeks after its own interims, had very little to add.

Both companies fulfilled their legal obligations to update investors but not in any meaningful way.

It caused one analyst to ask: "How do you keep telling the market there have been no material changes? The companies are clearly not that comfortable with it. It makes their life more difficult and my life more difficult."

The US Stock Market is more focussed on quarterly updates and, according to one observer is "a lot more short termist" as a result.

He said: "You have to be able to see the wood for the trees and not get too caught up in the latest news every three months."

Then again, as housebuilders have shown this year, a few weeks can make a big difference.

They must long for the days of banal market updates.