UK shares had a flat start to the week, with no major financial news or developments and Wall Street was closed for the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday. The FTSE 100 finished the day 26.6 points higher at 6181.0.
Things are likely to pick up later in the week as the reporting season continues, with 84 US and 17 European companies reporting earnings this week.
Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times and Penguin Books, reported a set of results which were slightly below consensus expectations. New chief executive John Fallon blamed tough market conditions, with weaker than expected performance at its North American educational business. The firm announced that the Financial Times side of the business, FT Group, will report good revenue growth for the year as a whole in spite of a weak fourth quarter due to weaker advertising sales. Penguin, the publishing arm that produces the popular Jamie Oliver cooking books, benefited from a good fourth quarter and reported revenue in line with expectations. While no formal guidance has been issued for 2013, management stated that “its businesses continue to face tough market conditions and structural change” which should continue into 2013. The shares reacted negatively to the news and fell 2.9% to close at 1202p.
The share price for insurer Admiral Group moved higher and topped the FTSE 100 Index leader board following an upgrade from broker Goldman Sachs. The broker changed its recommendation from neutral to conviction buy, as they like Admiral’s low capital and high cash generative business model. The shares closed the day 4.9% higher at 1211p.
In The Journal North Index, GlaxoSmithKline showed the most improvement with a rise of 2.11%, while Hargreaves Services was the weakest performer, losing 2.64%.