The M&C20 was saved from a more significant decline thanks to the share price performance of two companies at either end of the scale – JD Wetherspoon and Essenden.

The Leisure Index fell by 0.7% to 1,262, against a general increase or 0.3% for the FTSE All-Share to 1,030, but it could have been worse.

Wetherspoons posted a 5.5% share price rise to 860p, a record high since the start of M&C20 last May, in the aftermath of its well-received financial results last week. The FT reported that a consensus forecast among 20 polled investment analysts advised that the company will outperform the market.

Meanwhile, relative M&C20 minnow Essenden, the Tenpin bowling alley chain, saw its share price rocket by 50% to 98p this week after reporting a pre-tax profit of £3.6m for the year ending 29 December, compared with a loss of £0.1m in 2012.

Chief Executive Nick Basing said the company is “fitter and stronger than ever” and confident that 2014 will be a “defining moment in the company’s future”, adding that first-quarter 2014 like for like (LFL) sales were up by 13.5%.

Spirit Pub Company managed a more modest 0.9% increase to 82.7p after giving a posotive trading update, with LFL sales accelerating across all areas. Nick Batram from Peel Hunt said: “While softer comparatives helped during the last eight weeks, the performance is still impressive. With the refinancing addressing one of the key issues (ie the financing of growth) and momentum building, we continue see further upside in the shares.”

Marston’s shares fell by 7.8% to 114.7p despite being cheered by the further 1p cut in beer duty announced in the Budget. Fellow brewers Greene King and Fuller’s were also off by 1.8% to 896p and 1.0% to 926p respectively.

M&B fell by 3.7% to 467p and Enterprise dropped 3.4% to 143.8p.