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Market Watch

FINANCE

THE CITY'S Christmas shoppers were buying Keller last week and helping to lift the groundwork specialist's stock to a record high.

Volumes were thin but Keller's shares have more than doubled since slipping to 385.5p at the start of this year.

Shares in two house builders, Redrow and Bovis, also reached record highs as inf luential stockbrokers ABN Amro issued a note on the sector.

ABN Amro is 'overweight' on the overall sector and highlighted Redrow as a takeover target, along with Bovis, which ticked up 55p to £10.80.

ABN Amro is positive on both and also cites Wilson Bowden - ahead thruppence at £22.09 - as likely to succumb to consolidation but downgraded its rating on the firm's shares to 'hold' from 'buy'.

The Dutch brokerage's stock picks are the sector's big players, including Wimpey, which was marked up 18.5p to 564p.

ABN Amro also favours Barratt - among the week's biggest gainers after hitting a new high - and Persimmon, where shares are also trading close to record levels. With Merrill Lynch re-iterating a 'buy' rating on Persimmon and a new target price of £16, the shares ticked up 49p to £15.10 by last Friday's close.

Elsewhere, Aggreko firmed 4p to 400p after sealing a major US takeover that prompted brokers UBS to raise its price target on the temporary power hirer 50p to 400p.

Scott Wilson climbed after sealing a major acquisition that prompted broker Numis Securities to upgrade its earnings-per-share forecast for the consultant.