How construction companies fared in the City in the week to 30 January 2001
A good start to the year for the construction sector just keeps getting better. After all the excitement of last week's marriages the rumour mill in the City is working overtime. Housebuilders are still the ones to watch, and more consolidation is anticipated.

In housebuilding, stock watchers have shifted their attention to smaller firms now that Beazer, Bryant, Persimmon and Taylor Woodrow are spoken for.

Reflecting this, possible targets Westbury and Prowting were each up 6.5p on Tuesday, adding to their earlier rises, and Crest Nicholson was up 18.5p to 194p, a five-year high for the firm, on the back of a good interim profit (see above).

One analyst thought the interest in smaller outfits was a positive move, leading to more of the much-promised consolidation in the construction sector.

He said: "About time; the market is crying out for larger companies."

Over in the contractors' corner the news was less bright for Laing.

Its stock plunged 27.5p on Monday, after the group announced that its

full-year profit would be £40m lower than expected thanks to troublesome contracts. The stock recovered somewhat on Tuesday, edging up 7.5p to 406p.

Balfour Beatty continued to suffer the post-Hatfield fall-out, shedding 13p from last week.