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Market Watch

FINANCE

THE INDUSTRY bounced back last week as more than half of the 105 firms on the Construction News index registered a rise on the previous week's torrid trading.

But there were few contractors among the gainers. Wigmore, owner of the Speymill fit-out operation, sank 12 per cent after turning to the market to raise cash.

Investors continue to lose patience with Amey on the slightest suggestion of more problems and this sent the shares to a new record low of 20.5p.

Galliford Try climbed 10 per cent to 24.25p as a breakup valuation of the business valued the firm at 40p per share - with 31p of this total coming from the house building operation.

A surprise cut in interest rates helped a batch of house builders climb skywards as investors shuffled their holdings ahead of the start of next month's annual results season.

Among the big names, Westbury, Wilson Connolly, Berkeley, Wilson Bowden and Bellway all posted a rise.

AIM-listed minnow Propan also surged after the government unveiled plans to build masses of homes in the Thames Gateway, where the house builder has land holdings. This prompted interest from retail investors.

The biggest loser was Lavendon as a possible takeover foundered and sent shares in the plant outfit plummeting 28 per cent on thin volumes.