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Market Watch


MONTHS of growth at Galliford Try were undone last week as the firm's share price plunged by a quarter after revealing a £6.5 million loss on a contract.

The stock, which was at 40p in May, rallied but closed the week off 16.5 per cent at 27p.

The misery continues for investors in plant business Baldwins. The shares were at 450p last summer but a £1 million loss from the collapse of Independent Insurance knocked 18 per cent of Baldwins stock, which closed last week at 136.5p.

John Laing slumped 7.8 per cent after brokers Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) slashed its price target on the beleaguered construction group from 400p to 330p.

SSSB, which rates Laing as 'underperform', said: 'The statement regarding the planned sale of the construction division is worse than we had feared and confirms the ongoing risk in the business.'

Credit Suisse First Boston started coverage of Wolseley last week with a 'buy' recommendation and a target price of 585p but the materials outfit's shares slipped 1.2 per cent.

There was heavy trading in another materials outfit Aggregate Industries, with 22 million shares changing hands last Friday. This was prompted by rumours of a £1.5 billion overseas bid but the group's shares firmed just 0.6 per cent last week.

An upgrade from 'accumulate' to 'buy' from Merrill Lynch helped put 4.9 per cent on retirement house builder McCarthy & Stone.