LONDON (ShareCast) - Construction and materials stocks were in demand on Wednesday on the back of ambitious plans by President Barack Obama to invest in infrastructure in North America.
CRH (NYSE: CRH - news) was among the highest risers in the category today, up 5.1% at 1,425p (a 52-week high) after Obama unveiled a new 'Fix it First (Other OTC: FSTC - news) ' programme in his State of the Union address, pledging $50bn to repair damaged bridges, roads and railways.
CRH is highly exposed to the US economy with just under 50% of its first-half sales coming from the Americas region.
As well as supplying products for home repair, maintenance and improvement, the company is also heavily involved in the infrastructure markets, providing aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete.
House-builder and construction firm Galliford Try (LSE: GFRD.L - news) was up 4.6% a day after announcing that its Partnerships business has been selected as the preferred bidder on a number of contracts across the UK.
Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) , which announced on Monday that it had been appointed as the preferred bidder for a £45m student accommodation project at Aberystwyth University, gained 1.1%.
Breedon Aggregates, Norcros (LSE: NXR.L - news) and Superglass Holdings (LSE: SPGH.L - news) were also making gains.
UK house builder Crest Nicholson surged 15% today after its stock market debut in London, the largest construction initial public offering since the economic downturn.
The company raised gross proceeds of £22.4.9m in the float - the biggest listing since Direct Line.
Crest priced its shares at 220p, the top end of its last indicated range, valuing the business at £553m. But shortly after they went live, shares climbed 15% to 253p.
Top performing sectors so far today
Construction & Materials 3,905.49 +4.32%
Industrial Metals & Mining 3,188.46 +2.78%
Mining 20,843.67 +2.71%
Automobiles & Parts 6,090.66 +2.24%
General Industrials 3,739.35 +2.18%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Industrial Transportation 2,487.31 -0.92%
Mobile Telecommunications (BSE: MOBILTEL.BO - news) 4,019.59 -0.92%
Real Estate Investment & Services 2,042.32 -0.58%
Oil & Gas Producers 7,985.00 -0.24%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 10,067.34 -0.24%