The share price of AMEC shot up almost 16% to 342p last week. The boost, of course, came from renewed takeover speculation, the ripples of which surfaced last Friday

Speculation of a takeover has continued unabated for months. Yet we are still waiting for an announcement. It is difficult to believe that, at the moment, there is anything in it. If there was it is difficult to imagine that the takeover panel would not by now have forced an announcement.

The name most commonly linked with the approach, real or imagined, is FLUOR CORPORATION, the US group and Amec’s partner in Iraq. Rumours are rife in the City that Fluor has stated privately that it has no intention to make a bid for Amec. The official line from Flour’s Californian head office sheds no light on the matter: “We cannot comment on speculation regarding potential acquisitions,” was all a spokesperson would say.

The statement will do nothing to dispel the growing frustration among analysts that what has until now been empty speculation is driving up the share price.

Nor does it end the speculation itself. Yet analysts still think a takeover approach would be a surprise, not least because they consider rumours of a bid pitched at 435p a share too expensive. The 5% drop in Amec’s share price on Monday to 325.75p suggests a takeover bid might not be imminent.

One takeover bid that is out in the open is the £2.3bn one by Mexican company CEMEX for RMC. RMC’s shares rocketed 42% to 852.5p on the back of the news, making it the best performing company in the sector as a whole last week.

The City was surprised by the high level of the offer, pitched at 599.5p a share, and said that shareholders would be foolish to reject it. Takeover talk pushed construction and building materials shares up 4.6% to 2979. The sector outperformed shares as a whole, with the All-Share rising by just 1.8% to 2312.

The sector’s poorest performers were JOHNSTON (-22%) and Costain (-11%). In the support services sector, White Young Green benefited from a 20% profit leap for the year ended 30 June.

The results pushed its shares up almost 9% to 242p.