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Market Watch

FINANCE

BIRSE Group was inevitably among the strongest performers in the sector as the firm's shares climbed ahead of this week's recommended cash offer from Balfour Beatty at 16.625p per share.

But last week was also a good one for shareholders in quoted consulting engineers. Shares in Mouchel Parkman climbed by 8 per cent to 328p as the firm was jointly named preferred bidder for the £260 million Oldham Strategic Partnership contract, helping the council deliver its highways, property, customer, exchequer and ICT services over the next decade.

Meanwhile, WS Atkins was also among the strongest risers after it unveiled sparkling results.

Corus was among the biggest movers across the sector as the market reflected on the tight situation in the global steel market. The firm has recently announced price increases of 7 to 12 per cent in the third quarter on top of the rises of 5 to 7 per cent it has recently introduced.

Shares in Persimmon were in demand ahead of a trading update at the start of this week, which confirmed that like-forlike sales are up by 7 per cent.

In the plant sector, there was also interest in Vp, which recently reported a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax profits.

Among the fallers, Galliford Try came under pressure, dipping by 4 per cent to 115p.

And shares in Andrews Sykes, despite recently reporting a strong improvement in trading, slipped by 7 per cent to 119 p. Mitie, the contracting group which is expanding into social housing, dipped by 4 per cent to 188p.