Share indices in the week to 7 December 2001
Construction companies had something of an unusual experience last week on the share market – there were more price rises than falls.

The sector has enjoyed a remarkable year with values steadily rising, but its star had been waning of late. Railtrack's demise, the battle over the PFI and the much-predicted-but-yet-to-materialise collapse in the housing market all gave jittery investors reasons to pull out.

There was also Laing's nightmare exit from construction that reawakened the old fears about the long-term profitability of contractors. But last week the sector enjoyed one of its better weeks.

Leading the way were Laing (up 12% to 135p), Persimmon (up 14% to 365p) and Rok (up 13% to 134p). But Barratt, Carillion, Gleeson, Alfred McAlpine, Westbury and Wimpey also experienced healthy gains of more than 5%.

Even the whipping boys at Wilson Connolly, whose share price has given a good impersonation of a sinking stone, revelled in a 3% gain to 152p.

And those companies whose share prices dropped – such as Amec, Balfour Beatty and Kier – got off relatively lightly, with falls not exceeding 3%.