It was Bovis Homes’ turn to play the harbinger of doom this week, a role it fulfilled by announcing a 30% fall in reservations since January.

The housebuilder’s share price promptly fell 6% in early trading on Tuesday, but by the afternoon it had recovered three percentage points and hovered at 455p, so the imaginary £100 stake we bought on 29 February now stands at £78.

Going the other way were Redrow (up 7%) and Bellway (up 3%) on the back of merger rumours. John Watson, chief executive of Bellway, dismissed the gossip as unfounded. Meanwhile, City watchers said Redrow’s shareholders were unlikely to accept a merger that would take away their independence but would not compensate them with a premium on their share price.

It’s Barratt’s turn to report next week. On Tuesday it emerged that it had turned down a US private equity group’s offer of £400m for a 30% stake. Nice timing.