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2006 share tip round-up

FINANCE

INVESTORS that bought into all three of Construction News's share tips this year will have enjoyed an average gain of nearly 60 per cent.

With the FTSE Construction sector ahead only a third on a year ago, that shows that carefully chosen contractors can still produce a good result.

Rok has been the best performing share and, despite some naysayers, the spending spree embarked on by chief executive Garvis Snook cont inues to excite the City.

Midlands group Kingfisher and the contracting arm of Scottish firm Tulloch were both hoovered up as Mr Snook stuck to his plan of becoming the nation's favourite local builder.

Whether the next year can produce such favourable gains without some integration pain remains to be seen.

Until this week, Costain's shares had been riding high, having passed the 60p mark but a thumping profits warning has undone much of this good work.

Andrew Wylie is perhaps being very conservative but breaching the firm's banking covenants will not excite anyone in the City. The firm will recover but the share price may take longer.

Investing in a company where one group - or family in the case of North Midland - has a controlling interest can be galling if the board embark on crazy expansion plans.

Robert Moyle clearly has the support of his family and shareholders and there is nothing crazy about his slow rollout of his Nottinghamshirebased construction group.

Despite lack of liquidity, the stock has shown a very steady gain and the group's spread of activities from civil and building contracting to specialist work and products provide insurance against any black holes.

The City does not always like such variety but there seems lit tle reason to sell up now.