ow construction companies fared in the City in the week to 6 February 2001
After housebuilders grabbed everyone's attention with their canoodling and coupling, now it's the turn of the contractors to get back a little of the spotlight.

Shares in biggies such as BALFOUR BEATTY, AMEC, JARVIS and CARILLION all continued to improve this week, building on their strong performance so far this year. Amec's shares saw the most significant rise, up to 424.5p, well above its previous year high of 395p.

LAING has also continued its comeback after the City sensed that a sell-off of its contracting arm was approaching.

The old firm's share price has rocketed since last week, up 62.5p to 523.5p earlier this week. As one analyst explained: "Without the troublesome contracting arm, Laing is a far more attractive proposition long term." Meanwhile, mystery still surrounds an acquisition by contractor EBC. Shares in the Exeter-based company soared 10p to 92p late last month after news reached the market that it was looking to make a large acquisition. This forced EBC to suspend its shares and issue a statement confirming that it was indeed about to make a purchase.

EBC this week refused to comment further, except to say it was still in negotiations to make a "substantial" buy. The company also refused to say when an announcement was likely.

The company axed about 90 jobs last July and then posted a pre-tax loss of £1.25m for the six months to June 2000, mainly as a result of its poorly performing subsidiary, NR HUMPHREY'S.

At the time, chief executive Garvis Snook warned that EBC needed to be more flexible to win new business.