Most are convinced that it has been cast smouldering come hither glances by a swarthy foreign lothario, after most of the studs of the British market, including Balfour Beatty and Carillion, admitted that they had no untoward intentions towards Peterhouse.
Whoever the Romeo may be, it must be well-endowed, or at least blinded by love. Analysts believe that Peterhouse could fetch two quid a share – but are unsure whether it is all that attractive, given that its lucrative rail maintenance contracts were taken in-house by Network Rail at the end of last year.
But then, beauty is in the eye of the beholder no matter how severe the cataracts, as Mrs Broker often "jokes". And a rather naughty rumour is circulating that Peterhouse may be losing itself to more than one suitor – the hussy. Either way, the charmingly romantic City has fallen for this affair of the heart and upped Peterhouse's share price 8% last week, reaching 188.5p by close of play Friday.
Alfred McAlpine is my Valentine. Don’t tell the missus
Hunch of the week
Similarly unrequited advances appear to have been made by property entrepreneurs Gerald Ronson and Jack Petchey towards housebuilder Crest Nicholson. The board of Crest has often said that it is happy to stay single, but the cynical Don Juans might be hopeful that it is just playing hard to get. Either way, the market seems certain that some sort of tryst is inevitable, and Crest's price rose 8.2% to 348.5p last week as a result.
If Crest doesn't succumb, are there others whose knees will tremble until overwhelmed by the need for its perfect partner? (My, I am enjoying this column!) Many in the Square Mile feel that housebuilder Countryside is a natural beauty to get excited about. But will the helming Cherry family be popped? All are rich shareholders and surely it will take more than just money to seduce them. Countryside's share price was up 4.2% last week, closing at 232p.