Sector movers: CRH drags construction sector lower



LONDON (ShareCast) - A fall from heavyweight building materials group CRH (NYSE: CRH - news) ensured that the construction and materials sector was in the red today, offsetting a decent performance by second-tier firms Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) and Galliford Try (LSE: GFRD.L - news) .

FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) -listed CRH, which has a market capitalisation of around £9.2bn, reported on Wednesday morning that it had spent a total of €630m in development activity in 2012.

This was boosted by the 18 acquisition and investments initiatives worth €375m undertaken in second half, mostly in the Americas.

Chief Executive Myles Lee said: "The €0.6bn of development activity during 2012 reflects CRH's long-term, value-based approach to developing our balanced portfolio."

CRH was also in the news today on reports that itself and Swiss cement giant Holcim (Other OTC: HCMLF - news) are in discussions with Shriram Group to buy a controlling stake in Sree Jayajothi Cements. The company owns a 3.2m-tonne cement plant in Andhra Pradesh, south-west India.

AIM-listed sector peers Hightex, Michelmersh Brick and Lupus Capital (LSE: LUP.L - news) were also under the weather today, recording losses of 4.55%, 3.57% and 1.59%, respectively.

Gains from FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) groups Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try weren't enough to push the sector into positive territory today.

Infrastructure company Balfour Beatty, which has a market cap of £624m, said today that it has purchased Subsurface Group to expand the Energy Storage Services business of its subsidiary, Parson Brinckerhoff, in the US. Meanwhile, housebuilding and construction firm Galliford Try, which is valued at £1.95bn on the market, said its construction division had won four new contracts worth a total of £55m.

Top performing sectors so far today
Industrial Metals & Mining 2,974.32 +1.27%
Food & Drug Retailers 4,213.10 +1.11%
Tobacco 35,756.72 +1.05%
Forestry & Paper 7,459.17 +0.95%
Industrial Transportation 2,512.18 +0.92%

Bottom performing sectors so far today
Construction & Materials 3,536.76 -1.07%
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 24,246.63 -0.57%
Personal Goods 20,039.80 -0.57%
Gas, Water & Multiutilities 5,288.27 -0.51%
Mining 20,505.68 -0.44%