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* FTSE 100 index down 0.6 percent
* Pearson shares sink after update
* Energy shares track weaker oil prices
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Oct 17 Education company Pearson
led Britain's top share index lower on Monday after
saying in an update that market conditions continued to be
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.6 percent at
6,970.30 points by 0859 GMT after climbing to a record high last
week. Britain's mid-cap index was down 0.66 percent.
Pearson was down 9.3 percent after reporting a 7 percent
drop in its nine-month organic sales and saying that retailers
had further corrected their inventory demands in July and
"Pearson is now relying on its core educational businesses
for forward momentum, but convincing customers to continue
paying for its content represents a huge challenge to the group
against a backdrop of free educational resources popping up
online," Hargreaves Lansdown analyst George Salmon said.
"Despite enjoying the benefits of a weaker pound, sales have
been falling recently and there was little in today's update to
suggest that the tide is changing."
Energy shares also lost ground after oil prices fell, pulled
down by a rising rig count in the United States, a strong dollar
and record OPEC output, which comes amid slowing global economic
growth that could erode fuel demand.
The UK oil and gas index fell more than 1
percent in early trade, the top sector decliner, dragged down by
a 0.9 to 1.3 percent fall in shares of BP, Royal Dutch
Shell and Tullow Oil.
However, miners rose after prices of copper gained.
Glencore, Rio Tinto and Anglo American
rose 0.5 to 1.6 percent, helping the UK mining index
to advance 0.5 percent.
Among mid-cap companies, Debenhams fell nearly 4
percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating on the stock
to "equal-weight" from "overweight".
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)