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Market Watch

FINANCE

SHARES in Samuel Heath dipped early this week after profits went into retreat at the Birmingham-based products outfit.

Cost-cutting at the firm, which manufactures sanitary ware, failed to prevent pre-tax profits falling £17,000 to £221,000 in the half-year to September 2004.

The management admitted last year's annual profits of £1.1 million, itself a fall on the previous year, were unmatchable and shareholders dumped the stock.

In the previous week, City Lofts fell as profits slumped at the urban flat builder on news that major projects were not completed in time for the half-year to September.

Mitie was also marked down as the maintenance outfit took a hit after selling its scaffolding arm but there were also other worries in the City.

Michael Morris, an analyst at brokers Arbuthnot, said: 'It seems that there is margin pressure in some areas of the business, particularly in building services.'

Elsewhere, Wilson Bowden firmed 1p to 984p as brokers Bridgewell reiterated a 'buy' rating on the house builder.

Bridgewell also maintained a similar rating on rival Bovis, whose stock gained 4.5p to 509.5p.

Atkins gave up 13.5p to 689.5p as brokers disagreed about the consultant's prospects, with not everyone in accord with ABN Amro, which reiterated an 'add' rating.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Cater Barnard upped its stakes in Navitas Hemway and Telco Solutions.

Cater Barnard has agreed a full takeover of both maintenance businesses in a deal that will see shares in the new, enlarged business trading under the name of Mercury.