Outlook: Water's hangover

IF THEY weren't so busy pleading poverty, the bosses of Britain's water companies should club together and buy John Roberts a large drink (or better still a house). The new (and temporarily homeless) chief executive of United Utilities single-handedly put the water sector back on something resembling an even keel yesterday by maintaining the dividend. The effect was to allow most of the sector to claw back the ground lost on Thursday after its double whammy at the hands of Hyder and Pennon.

But the water sector has still underperformed the index by a thumping 55 per cent in 12 months - proof, if needed, that while the Internet party rages on, the hangover has well and truly set in for the old fashioned darlings of the market.

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