After three days supping a little too much of the red stuff in the granite surroundings of the Square Mile, it was a relief to have a dry lunch last Thursday with my old chum Colin Busby, the Kier chairman.
We enjoyed a simple collation of fresh fruit as Colin thundered about the government's ridiculous delays to PFI projects, and I was able to look out from the Kier offices over the beautiful surrounds of Sandy in Bedfordshire. Peaceful and calm, just like the steady-as-she-goes contractor's week, which saw its share price amble upwards 0.6% to 633.5p.

Thursday was to prove a brief respite, however, as the City reacted feverishly to the news that Jarvis was to pull out of rail maintenance. Thoughts of drifting through Friday planning my viewing of the rugger world cup were all but squashed by the announcement – a development that, of course, had been foreseen by Building's news desk when they put the magazine to bed last Wednesday.

Jarvis has received lots of nasty press over its rail maintenance work since the Potters Bar accident last year, and the market responded favourably to its exit from this sector – its price rose 8.2% to 323.5p.

Indeed, City chaps and chapettes were in generous mood last week. The previous week they had given poor old Exeter contractor ROK a bit of a spanking, slapping down its share price 9% after it made a slightly cocky 51p-a-share offer for Galliford Try. But we're all pals at the exchange really, so investors wiped Rok's bloodied nose and put its shares back 7.6% to 260.5p.

Analysts are starting to raise Wimpey’s profit forecast for 2003. Take a good, hard look

Hunch of the week

Well, I say we're all pals, but I must speak out against what appears to have been some brutish bullying of MouchelParkman.

The newly merged support services group received some severe body blows last week as investors marked it down 11% to 185.5p. It seems to have done little to deserve this treatment, so maybe the City community will make it up this week?

Finally, dear reader, may I point out the soundness of my hunches last week. It may sound like one is blowing one's own trumpet – possibly because one is – but both Redrow and Bovis Homes enjoyed uplifting weeks following my suggestion that the housebuilders would be a merger made in City heaven. Redrow rose 1% to 344.5p and Bovis Homes soared 5.1% to 509.5p.