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Market Watch

THE AIM-listed engineering services company Chieftain stood out as the largest riser of the week, up 10p to 77.5p.

At the end of September the group warned that its results for the full year would be below expectations due to a slow release of work on contracts. But the firm cheered shareholders this week when it revealed it was in advanced discussions with two Teesside companies on engineering maintenance deals. It if wins them, Chieftain said it would have a material impact on next year's results.

Positive contract news helped the share price of Babcock, which moved ahead by 27p to 214p. The support services firm's joint venture, Babcock Dyncorp, has won a £500 million Ministry of Defence contract to provide property maintenance and capital works under the Regional Prime Contract East.

Last year, Babcock, together with Bovis Lend Lease, won a similar deal in the south-west.

Meanwhile, shares in Westbury climbed a further 68p to 562p as the City digested the recent approach from Persimmon.

There have been murmurs in the City that Persimmon could be in danger of over-paying at the top of the cycle but approval for a deal seems widespread and Persimmon shares rose a further 9.3 per cent to 1,038p.

Elsewhere, Connaught's shares rose by 50p to 887.5p as the City ref lected on the social housing specialist's recent results, which showed a 27 per cent rise in underlying profits and a £1.5 billion order book.

Shares in utility services group Pipehawk rose 11 per cent to 12.75p. The firm unveiled results showing its pre-tax losses had been cut from £892,000 last time to £394,000 in the year ending June and that it almost broke even du r ing its second half.