The housebuilder rally of recent weeks came to an end amid what one analyst called a “uniformly bleak” week for companies.

The spurt was caused by scraps of good news on US house sales and stake-building by investor Toscafund in Redrow and Taylor Wimpey.

One analyst said: “Building a 17% stake in Redrow may be designed to speed up a sale but I can’t work out the logic of a 10% stake in Taylor Wimpey unless it hopes to push it to separate its US and UK businesses.”

Amid all this see-sawing, our imaginary £100 stake was worth: £92 in Barratt, £97 in Bovis, £98 in Taylor Wimpey, £93 in Persimmon, £98 in Redrow and £102 in Bellway. The ton we put on Carillion was worth £103, our Jarvis stake was worth £89 and our punt on Kier stood at £98.

There was little movement for contractors’ shares over the past seven days – a situation described by one City watcher as a “bloody good thing in the current circumstances”.