TUESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Debs joy fails to extend to wider market

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Shares in Debenhams headed higher this afternoon despite a slump in profits as management set out plans to restore the fortunes of the department store chain.

Investors kept faith with the group, sending the stock up about 4 per cent or 3.4p to 81p in the FTSE 250 – still well shy of the 114p seen in October – after chief executive Michael Sharp pledged to refine its promotional strategy and improve its multi-channel offering through much faster delivery times.

The rise came as the wider market fell amid further concerns over Ukraine, as it sent tanks and troops to reclaim government buildings occupied by pro-Russian gunmen in the east of the country.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index closed down 42.15 points or 0.6 per cent at 6,541.61.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “A lacklustre morning for the FTSE has given way to an even less impressive afternoon. We are continuing to shed the ground gained [on Monday], and an apparent escalation of the situation in Ukraine is not helping.”

Brewer SABMiller was one of the biggest top-flight fallers after it said currency headwinds will impact full-year results.

Volumes grew by 2 per cent over the year but this was not enough to prevent shares from falling 2 per cent or 71.5p to 3,052.5p, with the drop reversing some of the gains seen in the stock in recent weeks.

G4S was also down, in the wake of a ratings downgrade from Deutsche Bank. Shares fell 7.4p to 240.6p.

Generator supplier Aggreko climbed after it said underlying revenues rose by 5 per cent in the three months to March 31. Shares lifted 18p to 1,528p.

Imperial Tobacco was up as it announced it was to end cigarette manufacturing in the UK, under plans to close its Nottingham factory with the loss of up to 540 jobs. Shares rose 7p to 2,481p.