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Market Watch

FINANCE

SOUTH-West-based contractor ROK continues to be popular with investors after returning to profit at the halfway stage.

After slipping below 110p at the start of the month, shares in the group, formerly known as EBC, rose 11 per cent last week.

A restructuring undermined last year's results but ROK is expected to finish 2001 with pre-tax profits of £4.2 million, according to house broker Teather & Greenwood.

In a research note, T&G said:

'The most obvious feature of the interim results is the turnaround from loss to operating profits of £0.9 million from construction.

'This is partly the result of cost reductions of £1.5 million across the group, partly organic growth from a reinvigorated company. . . and partly the contribution of the Bartlett acquisition [for £350,000 in August 2000].'

Shares in plant firms Baldwins and Aggreko also enjoyed a positive week.

Baldwins rose by 7 per cent after landing a £1.75 million contract in the US, while Aggreko gained 6 per cent in anticipation of the interim results due out tomorrow (Friday).

Tolent, the Rotherham-based contractor listed on the Alternative Investment Market, dived 19 per cent as investors lost interest despite recent encouraging halfyear results.

Shares in specialist electrical contractor T Clarke continue to fall away from the 12-month high of 300p achieved last month, shedding 8.5 per cent on the departure of commercial director and board member Robin Wyborn.