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Britain's FTSE set to break five-week winning streak as Pearson plunges
July 29, 2016 / 9:36 AM / a year ago

Britain's FTSE set to break five-week winning streak as Pearson plunges

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* FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct

* Pearson slumps on sales miss

* Essentra tanks after revenue warning

* But Barclays jumps after results

By Kit Rees

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - British shares fell on Friday, with the FTSE 100 index set to end a five-week gaining streak as education publisher Pearson slumped after it posted results.

The FTSE 100 index was down 0.2 percent at 6708.11 points by 0907 GMT, underperforming the broader European market. That helped put it on course to record its first week of losses after five straight weeks of gains, as it fell from Wednesday's year-high reached on Wednesday.

The FTSE 100 index has recovered all of its losses following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, putting it 6 percent above its pre-Brexit level, thanks to the high international exposure of its constituents.

Pearson, the world's biggest education company which has been struggling with a downturn, slumped more than 9 percent after reporting a miss in its first half sales. It is on track for its biggest daily loss in nine months.

"As expected, we don't see anything here to move the thesis, the H1 numbers small enough to render growth metrics less meaningful. Sales still soft, but the re-structuring benefits clearly not visible until H216," analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

Household product manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser dropped 2.7 percent after reducing its full-year outlook because of a scandal over humidifier sanitisers in South Korea .

Barclays was the top gainer among the blue chips, soaring 6.8 percent after a well-received update. Although it reported a 21 percent drop in first-half pre-tax profit, the bank saw improved returns in its core business, with core pre-tax profit up 19 percent to 3.97 billion pounds sterling.

Analysts also pointed to the fact that Barclays had not announced any job cuts or branch closures, as its peer Lloyds had done when it reported results on Thursday.

"We saw a slightly better performance than expected, which is good, and (Barclays has) been reasonably upbeat in terms of the outlook for the strategy that's been put in place by the new CEO," Jes Staley, said Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments

Asset management company Schroders rose 2.6 percent after target price upgrades from JP Morgan and Barclays.

Outside the blue chips, mid-cap Essentra, a supplier of specialty plastic and packaging components, slumped more than 20 percent after issuing a warning on its full-year revenue. (Reporting by Kit Rees, editing by Larry King)

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