Updates from Betfair and Debenhams

More support for the FTSE 100 yesterday with the index climbing +1.0% to 6,165. Aberdeen Asset Management climbed +4.7%, the day's biggest riser, while Fresnillo registered a -3.5% loss. Positive comment from a member of the US Fed Reserve helped row sentiment along.

Overnight, the Nikkei climbed +2.0% to 13,093 while the Hang Seng climbed +0.7% to 20,494.

First off, an interim from high street retailer Debenhams for the 16 weeks to 22 June. Group gross transaction value for the first 16 weeks of the second half increased just +1.0% and for the first 42 weeks of the year +2.6%. Like-for-like sales remain flat.

Debenhams though claims market share gains in clothing, beauty and home. Online sales grew by +40% in in the second half of the year it says. For year to date, online sales expanded +43.9%, taking 13.1% of total sales.

"We expect trading conditions to remain challenging in the balance of the financial year as consumer sentiment continues to be weak. At this stage, we are comfortable with the range of market expectations for profit before tax for the full year."

Next, full year preliminary numbers for Betfair. Total revenues slip slightly to £387m while pre-tax profits drops 27% to £38m. The dividend per share climbs +27% to 13.0p from 10.2p. "Sustainable" revenues are up strongly Betfair claims and claims cost savings of around £30m to be realised.

"This is a solid set of results in what has been a year of transition for Betfair," says chief exec Breon Corcoran. "Revenues lost as a result of changing regulation have been largely replaced with regulated, more sustainable revenues."

Betfair Group recently had its price target snipped by JP Morgan Cazenove from 850p to 825p in a research note while Citigroup recently upgraded Betfair Group from Neutral to Buy.

Lastly, a trading update for the six months to June 2013 for John Wood Group. The oil and gas player claims it's on course to deliver "good" growth in the first half. Wood Group Engineering is on track to achieve EBITA growth of around 15%, it claims.

It recently won onshore pipeline engineering projects with Dow Chemical and Williams in the US and says it's seeing strong activity across principal subsea hubs in the UK, US and Asia Pacific.

"We also recently acquired Intetech Limited," said the company, "to enhance our integrity management offering. In downstream, we have seen higher volumes contributing to improved performance."