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Market Watch

FINANCE

SHARES in Carillion hit a record high last week ahead of the group's £313 million acquisition of rival Mowlem.

The Mowlem deal should be done by the end of this week and Carillion drummed up more interest last week after giving a presentation about its nuclear activities to analysts.

With more than 70 million shares in Carillion traded, the stock mushroomed 8.75p to a record 338.75p.

With the results season impending and the Bank of England holding fire over a change in interest rates, a couple of brokers ran the rule over house builders.

UBS is cautious about the sector in the short term but has a 'buy' on Wilson Bowden, whose shares had been trading at record levels but eased 10p to 1,485p last week.

UBS also has a 'buy' rating on the sector's only FTSE 100 player, Persimmon, which put on thruppence to 1,491p.

Reviewing the house builders, Teather & Greenwood is also positive on Persimmon and urged investors into the sector's giant, Barratt, up a ha'penny at 1,057, Bellway ? ahead 16p at 1227p ? and Redrow, which was off a penny at 558p.

Shares in Wimpey, which kicked off the results season earlier this week, put on 13.75p to a record high of 552p.

Unsubstantiated rumours of a bid continue to drive the stock on but the current valuation remains ahead of some analysts' forecasts. German broker Deutsche raised its target price from 522p to 538p but stuck with a 'hold' rating.

Vague bid rumours also drove materials giant Hanson up 10p to a new high of 696p despite broker Goldman cutting its forecasts.