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France’s Lafarge didn’t so much “bring materials to life” – its corporate tagline – on Wednesday as an entire sector. European cement company shares rallied across the board after the Paris-based group reported its 2012 numbers. Not that they have been dozing recently. The likes of Heidelberg, Holcim and CRH have all outperformed European equity market indexes over the past six months, with share gains which at least doubled the Euro Stoxx’s 10-per-cent rise. Lafarge is up by a quarter. The question for investors is whether future prospects justify this, and, if so, where to place their bets.