Word up to you all, dear readers.
Mrs Broker has been accusing me of not being up-to-date and even of ageing, so I decided to go "street" and brush up on what the kids of today get up to.

Happily, my quest for eternal youth was helped by Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke, who gave analysts a school lunchbox each at the company's investor relations day last week. This was supposed to be a natty way of demonstrating the company's commitment to the government's £5bn-a-year secondary school building programme. Instead, it resulted in chaps and chapettes in the City walking around the Square Mile looking rather nostalgic for their old A-Team lunchboxes.

Enough of this childish nonsense. The investor day obviously impressed the market, with shares in Atkins up 4.4% to 590p by close of play Friday. This was a year-high, and by the time you have read this most erudite copy it should have topped six quid.

Kier also performed strongly, up 4.8% to 692.5p, again a year high. This was at least partially a response to the contractor's impressive interim results, which saw a 37.3% increase in pre-tax profit to £16.2m. Coupled with the £32.25m acquisition of six development schemes from Sainsbury's, the contractor should remain on the up-and-up in April.

AIM-listed building maintenance firm Enterprise fared less well, slipping 2.3% to 312.5p. This was despite announcing a strong set of 2003 figures last week, with pre-tax profit up 23% on the previous year at £16m.

Persimmon is nearly in the FTSE 100. I fancy its growth will continue …

Hunch of the week

Laing's announcement last week that it had made a pre-tax profit of £21m in 2003, as opposed to a loss of £14m the previous year, finally pushed the PFI specialist through the two quid barrier, as has been long predicted in this column.

The company was up 6.7% last week to 206p.

Amec was another contractor that enjoyed a rather jolly week. It bought two specialist engineering businesses in France with combined net assets of £2.45m and won two more contracts in Iraq. Coming weeks could also be strong for Amec as it awaits the award of a justice and security infrastructure job in the same country. Last week Amec rose 2.8% to 308.25p.