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Dishearteningly for Philip Clarke, Tesco shares rose on Monday after his departure was announced - even though the news was accompanied by a profit warning. But since then, the shares have tumbled to their lowest level since September 2004 on dividend cut fears. Tesco shares lost 3.9% on Tuesday and another 0.5% on Wednesday to close at 276p. Some analysts welcomed the decision to oust Clarke in favour of Unilever executive Dave Lewis. Shore Capital even upgraded its guidance from ‘sell’ to ‘hold’, “in expectation that the bull will be grabbed by the horns.” Others were less optimistic and focused more on Tesco’s warning that sales and trading profit in the first half would be “somewhat below expectation.” Barclays lowered its price target from 340p to 300p, and Deutsche Bank adjusted its target down from 342p to 313p.

The changes at Tesco were interpreted as bad news for Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. On Monday, Morrisons shares fell 2.4% to 173.7p and Sainsbury’s shares dropped 1.9% to 318.3p. “The consequences of change at Tesco will be felt by Sainsbury and Morrisons as Tesco tries to re-assert itself,” said HSBC analyst Dave McCarthy.

Elsewhere, Vimto owner Nichols delivered an 11% increase in pre-exceptional profit before tax to £10m for the first half ending 30 June. Despite taking a step back from deeper price promotions to shore up margins, UK sales were strong, rising 8%. In early trading on Thursday, the shares rocketed 4.7% to 979p. Fellow soft drinks company Britvic also reported solid trading figures on Thursday. Boosted by recent warm weather, the Pepsi bottler said GB fizzy drink sales had rocketed 10.4% in the third quarter ending 6 June - helping to offset flat stills sales and weaker-than-expected international sales. Shares slipped a fraction to 732.5p in early trading on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Unilever reported organic sales growth of 3.8% - below consensus analyst expectations of 4.3% . In early trading, the shares dropped 0.7% to 2264p. The Anglo-Dutch giant blamed a slowdown in emerging markets.