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Market Watch

FINANCE

VAGUE bid rumours are continuing to circulate around Berkeley.

Shares in Tony Pidgeley's housing outfit have been on a bull run since the end of last year and topped out at 1,266p at one stage last week.

Persimmon, the housing sector's only representative in the FTSE 100, was initially marked down last week despite presenting solid results.

Persimmon showed that the housing market is holding up and investment bank UBS is positive on the stock, although not everyone is saying 'buy' - brokers Numis is only neutral.

Still in the blue chip index, products giant Wolseley rose after a recent dip as brokers Oriel insisted the recent fall presented a good opportunity to buy on weakness.

Among the contractors, Interserve was undone by a bout of profit-taking after a strong run on the service contractor's shares.

Balfour Beatty was also marked down at one stage last week despite Numis reiterating a 'buy' rating with a 410p target price.

On the junior markets, there was interest in Connaught after the social housing contractor confirmed proposals to move up from AIM to the main list.

The shift will come at the end of October, when Connaught will release annual results for the year to August, and prompted broker Altium to reiterate a 'buy' rating up to a 250p target price.

Elsewhere on AIM, there was movement in Renew as fund managers JO Hambro Capital bought 300,000 shares in the contracting group to take its holding over 3 per cent.