Share indices in the week to 9 August 2002
Last week was a good one for most in the construction sector, as the market bounced back after its recent experiments with out-of-control nose diving.

Nearly all the housebuilders enjoyed a good week despite the ever-present fears of collapse in the market.

Best of the bunch was Wimpey, which jumped 13% to 271.5p, followed by Barratt (up 11%), Persimmon and Berkeley (both up 8%). The gains have continued this week, following Schroder Salomon Smith Barney's declaration that housebuilders were undervalued. The biggest loser, though, was Westbury, which dropped 4% to 320p.

Of course, these gains are only a small step in the right direction for these stocks. "Well, it was a start,

and that's all," said one stock watcher. "We'll have to see a steady improvement over a few weeks before anyone heaves a sigh of relief."

Life wasn't as rosy for contractors as the PFI hangover and worries about accounting policies continued. Balfour Beatty, which announced a good set of interim results on Wednesday, improved nearly 5%, as did Alfred McAlpine, but for the rest it was mostly falls.

Hardest hit were Carillion (down 8%), Morgan Sindall (down 4%) and Henry Boot (down 3%).