FTSE 100 watch: Footsie steady as pound retreats in wake of May speech

on Jan 18, 2017
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The UK benchmark index has inched marginally higher in today’s session, finding support in sterling, which has retreated in the wake of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech yesterday. In individual movers, Pearson (LON:PSON) has tumbled to the bottom of the FTSE 100 leaderboard after warning on this year’s profitability.

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As of 11:52 GMT, the Footsie had added 6.71 points to stand 0.09 percent higher at 7,227.09, as sterling slipped following Theresa May’s speech yesterday.
“As for the FTSE, sterling’s early shyness only helped it post a meagre five-point rise, meaning the index is still more than 100 points from the highs it hit at the start of the week,” Connor Campbell at Spreadex commented in a morning note.

Pearson’s shares meanwhile are weighing on the index, having lost nearly a third of their value so far today, after the company said that that following last year’s challenges, it had begun 2017 with a base level of underlying profitability of around £180 million lower than expected. The blue-chip company further noted that it was withdrawing its operating profit goal for 2018 reflecting portfolio changes and challenging and uncertain markets.

“Our argument has been, and remains, investors have no visibility on what this company looks like in five years,” Gary Paulin, head of global equities at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said in a note, as quoted by Reuters. Pearson’s share price is currently 30.07 percent worse off at 565.00p.
At the other end of the spectrum has been Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LON:HIK) whose shares have been in demand after the group’s wholly-owned subsidiary Roxane Labs received a regulatory approval in the US for a generic version of Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Xyrem which is indicated for the treatment of cataplexy, or the sudden loss of muscle strength, and excessive daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy. Hikma’s share price has added 1.83 percent to 1,949.00p so far today.
**The FTSE 100 index was 0.04 percent up at 7,223.52 points as of 12:14 GMT on Wednesday, 18 January 2017.**

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