THE TIPSTER | Female fashion fails on attractiveness

Tom Welsh
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HIGH street retailer Marks and Spencer’s is today expected to announce its worst performance since the first quarter of 2009. Despite attempts to revitalise its female clothing arm through celebrity advertising, this area is clearly struggling and weighs on its non-food sector. Given that women’s clothing makes up 60 per cent of M&S’s general merchandise, a decline in this area for five consecutive periods is significant. CMC Markets quotes 323.04-323.43p.

M&S’s major rival Debenhams looks ready to take centre stage. The often-overlooked store now has over 30,000 employees in 160 locations, and has reinvigorated its business by targeting middle-class households. Investors might want to challenge the upward trend, which has the 95p resistance level within its sights. Spread Co quotes 86.25-86.65p.

Shares in Computacenter remain close to their lowest levels in 18 months, as the IT infrastructure firm struggles to recover from last month’s announcement that faster expansion is leading to higher prices. Its predicted 12 per cent drop in earnings was larger than feared, but at least higher costs are due to growth plans and not a drop in business. Its 28 per cent share price rise until mid-March has now disappeared, but an upbeat comment this week might help the company to recover. IG quotes 300-304p for Computacenter.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 continues to struggle around the 5,700 level, despite being tested on several occasions in recent days. Some have been selling the FTSE in anticipation of lower prices to come, but the bulls will be targeting a break through 5,725 to the upside. Capital Spreads quotes 5,650-5,651.