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Real assets. No dot, no com

I NEVER like rejoicing at other people's misfortunes, but I could not help smiling at the rapid decline in lastminute.com's shares. I am sure Miss Lane Fox must have wondered whether she shouldn't have gone in for a bit of quick investment in one of the smarter properties now on the books of the eponymous Lane Fox Estate Agents.

It seems that bricks and mortar are coming back into fashion, much to the relief of Amec and other companies whose long-term strategies and excellent stewardship were thrown into doubt by the whizz-bang success of the Internet companies.

The swing in sentiment towards businesses with real assets and a track record brought succour too to those fending off foreign buyers attracted by the bargain prices at which our great construction businesses could bebought.

I'm pleased to see that Blue Circle is still holding out against the Lafarge embrace and I hope shareholders will take heart from the way the stock market has been performing.

I'm all for a bit of speculation but, for good solid returns, a business like Blue Circle, which has made astute investments to protect its future income stream, is definitely a 'hold'.