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FTSE ends flat, breaks five-week winning streak as Pearson plunges
July 29, 2016 / 9:36 AM / a year ago

FTSE ends flat, breaks five-week winning streak as Pearson plunges

A man walks through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange August 5, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - British shares ended little changed on Friday, with the FTSE 100 .FTSE index ending a five-week winning streak as education publisher Pearson slumped after posting results.

The index was down 0.05 percent at its close, underperforming the broader European market. The index ended the week down 0.1 percent after five straight weeks of gains, as it fell from Wednesday’s year-high.

It has recovered all of the losses triggered by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, putting it about 6 percent above its pre-Brexit level, thanks to the high international exposure of its constituents.

Pearson (PSON.L), the world’s biggest educational publisher, slumped 9 percent after reporting a miss in its first half sales. It posted its biggest daily loss for 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,” Jefferies analysts said in a note.

Household product manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) dropped 1.5 percent after reducing its full-year outlook because of a scandal over humidifier sanitisers in South Korea.

Barclays (BARC.L) was the top gainer among the blue chips, soaring 5.5 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.

Analysts also pointed to the fact that Barclays had not announced any job cuts or branch closures, as its peer Lloyds (LLOY.L) 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,” Charles Hanover Investments’ advisory investment manager, Jonathan Roy, said.

Outside the blue chips, mid-cap Essentra (ESNT.L), a supplier of specialty plastic and packaging components, slumped 22 percent after issuing a warning on its full-year revenue.

Editing by Louise Ireland

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