Share indices in the week to 22 November 2002
Support services group Atkins is no doubt willing that the hunt for a new chief executive won't take too long, in the hope that a new figurehead will provide enough reassurance to steady its share price. This fell yet again last week by 16.5% to 83.5p: after the firm issued a profit warning in early October, its shares lost 63% of their value.

Fortunately, Atkins chairman Mike Jeffries has stepped up his search for a new man to take the helm, and handed a shortlist to main board directors on Tuesday.

The previous chief executive, Robin Southwell, left the company amid a 400-employee cull last month. Analysts and shareholders had been critical of Southwell's appointment in April because of his lack of experience in construction.

Atkins was not the only support services firm to suffer recently – consultant High-Point Rendel's shares fell to just 8.5p on Monday after it revealed losses of £2.5m, and Amey slipped yet again – this time by 3.9%.

Jarvis bucked the general trend with a share price increase of 8.1% to 281p on the back of the strong pre-tax profit it announced this week. And Mouchel followed suit with a 4.4% rise in its shares to 118.5p over the course of the week.