Share indices in the week to 4 October 2002
Just when contractors thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.

Shares have continued to fall in the wake of the unions’ attack on the PFI and consultant Atkins’ increasinglywell-documented woes.

Not surprisingly, Atkins led the pack. It suffered a 63% drop in its price last week from 195p to 70p after its profit warning and the departure of chief executive Robin Southwell.

The Atkins bloodletting also seemed to hit other stocks. Next in line was Amec, which dropped 20%. Balfour Beatty, Mowlem, Interserve, Amey, Morgan Sindall, Jarvis, Peterhouse and Laing also all fell heavily.

One City source suggested the sector’s success over the past 18 months was behind the falls: “Some fund managers have been keeping their dogs and selling their best-performing stocks just to get by in this market,” the marketwatcher said. “So these companies, which have gained a lot in the past couple of years and represent good returns to the fund managers, and have paid the price.”

Of course the continuing wrangling over the PFI between the government and the unions hasn’t helped. Not to mention rising bid costs, sniping over design … I could go on …