Investors seemed to suffer a sudden loss of appetite for the housebuilding sector last week. Crest Nicholson and Taylor Woodrow edged up 0.1%, but many rivals suffered falls; Persimmon by 1.3%, Redrow by 1.6% and Bellway by 3.7%.

Instead, the money went haring after property services consultant Erinaceous, which is thought to be the latest target of private equity group 3i. Its share price jumped almost a third to 283p in the week that it confirmed it had received takeover approaches from at least one (unnamed) bidder.

Atkins also had a strong week, as the City has discounted its £36m hit on Metronet and focused on the firm’s strong underlying performance. Its shares rose 17% to £11.61. Fellow Metronet member Balfour Beatty was not so lucky – its involvement in the consortium pushed its share price down 1.4% to 485.25p. The share price of troubled contractor Costain also fell, by 6.4% to 47.75p.