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Market Watch


COMPANY bosses frequently dodge the media and the City after producing poor results but Raven Mount chief executive Anton Bilton had a better excuse than most last week.

Frustrated shareholders needed only to glance at the cover of the latest Hello!

magazine to see that Mr Bilton got married just before Raven Mount released woeful results for subsidiary Swan Hill.

Mr Bilton's Raven Mount team took control of Swan Hill last year after promising shareholders they would sell the house builder at a premium to the share price - only for a deal with British Land to break down.

A buyer will be even harder to find after half-year pre-tax profits crumbled £2.4 million to £1 million as property prices in the south-east cooled. Raven Mount is moving Swan Hill into the retirement homes sector but the shares, which were at 105p earlier this year, hit a new low last week.

Among the risers was T Clarke after acquiring King's Lynn-based Anglia Electrical, with house broker Arbuthnot re-iterating a 'buy' rating on the electrical subbie's shares.

Arbuthnot analyst Stephen Rawlinson said: 'T Clarke has bought eight small businesses in recent years.These increase earnings but also raise their quality as the companies purchased have reduced dependence on commercial markets in London and the south-east.'

With the results season drawing to a close again, traders bought into Henry Boot ahead of the construction and property group's half-year figures due out yesterday (Wednesday) and gambled on positive quarterly data from troubled plant giant Ashtead.