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Market Watch

FINANCE

ALUMASC confounded concerns over the impact of a rise in interest rates on manufacturers by posting strong annual results that brought attention to the construction products and engineering outfit.

This prompted brokers KBC Peel Hunt to upgrade its forecasts for 2006 by 4 per cent for the firm, which joined the FTSE Construction sector earlier this year after a re-classification.

Full-year housing profits have retreated at Redrow - the subject of takeover rumours in the past - but the shares gained, with Bridgewell re-iterating an 'overweight' rating.

Numis is less enthusiastic with a 'hold' on Redrow but is keener on Aggreko and reiterated an 'add' rating on the temporary power hirer, which released strong half-year results and is expected to beat expectations at the full-year.

Aggregates group Ennstone also put out half-year figures that were poorly received, despite Altium maintaining a 'buy' recommendation with a 56p target price.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Oakdene - one of the few small cap house builders left quoted - held steady despite a rumoured takeover by Persimmon failing to materialise. Oakdene denied the rumours a month ago but gossip persisted in the run-up to last week's interims.

No announcement was forthcoming but, with profits doubling and stockbrokers Numis re-iterating a 'buy' rating, the stock gained.

Still on the junior market, shares in contractor Interior rose after it unveiled a 54 per cent rise in full year profits.