"I think chief executives will use it as an excuse to sneak out other bad news."
Speaking of bad news, two companies that will be looking at 2003 with some trepidation will be Amey and Atkins.
Shares in these companies are now so low that both will struggle to retain their present forms.
The Bank of England's deputy governor Mervyn King will take over as governor in June. He has a reputation for being a hawk on inflation, and recently made a speech warning that the housing market is in danger of overheating. That means further interest rate cuts are unlikely unless the economy is heading for recession.
Housebuilders will be hoping that King's gloomy view of the housing market is proved wrong, and that the shortage of new homes prevents a repeat of the 1990 crash.
Finally, expect to hear a lot of talk about "corporate social responsibility". Regardless of how cynical you may be, the fact is that caring capitalism makes a good impression on investors. A listing on the FTSE4Good index of companies with good environmental and ethical credentials is
an important achievement for a business – and it really makes a company in the construction sector stand out against its competitors. The index periodically ratchets up its standards, so it will be interesting to see who joins and who leaves this year.
Top 10: The firms that have made the FTSE4Good indexBSS Group
Bovis Homes Group
The year ahead
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