First Amey managed to drag down its rivals with a series of clumsy stock market announcements, now Amec has done the same with its interim results last Thursday.

The UK’s biggest contractor did not do itself any favours by accompanying the medicine with a spoonful of vinegar, dourly warning of a softening in key markets and grumbling about the PFI. Flat profit and turnover did not help the City’s mood and Amec’s share price promptly fell 15%.

“Nobody doubts it is fundamentally a good business but they keep cocking up their announcements,” moaned one stock watcher. “Their investor relations tend to be a shambles.”

The market’s froideur towards Amec was extended to other companies, with most contractors ending the week a lot lower than they started. Hardest hit were Balfour Beatty, Taylor Woodrow, Mowlem and Rok.

The only contractors on the up were Jarvis and Costain – albeit by a mere 3%. And, as you’ll no doubt remember, they’ve had their own share of stock market horrors …