FTSE 100 movers: Housebuilders boosted by Bovis update; Pearson marked lower
London's FTSE 100 was down 0.5% to 6,862.52 in afternoon trade on Wednesday as PM Theresa May braced for a vote of no-confidence in her government.
Education publisher Pearson was the standout loser on the FTSE 100 after saying it expects full-year profits to come in just above the middle of its target range and guiding to growth of 8-18% for 2019. It said adjusted operating profit for 2018 would come in at around £540-545m, narrowing its range from the prior £520-560m. This feeds through to earnings per share of 70-71p.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "Academic publisher Pearson looks to be running to stand still based on the latest trading update. While 2018 profit is expected to be bang in the middle of previous guidance, this is backed by larger than expected cost cutting.
"Without these extra savings, the company would probably have been slightly short of expectations and would have been putting up a mild profit warning."
Distribution and outsourcing company Bunzl was also lower after a downgrade to 'underperform' from 'neutral' at Exane BNP Paribas.
Going the other way, housebuilders were the top gainers, led higher by Bovis Homes, which said profits for 2018 are expected to be "slightly ahead" of market consensus following a "significant" improvement in its operational performance.
Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and Berkeley Group were all higher.
Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Conditions are about as good as they can be for housebuilders, with government schemes like Help to Buy boosting demand among first time buyers, and low interest rates making mortgages easier to come by.
"That said, the Brexit cloud still looms large, and a sharp downturn in house prices or demand could blow a hole in Bovis’ otherwise steady ship."
FTSE 100 - Risers
Persimmon (PSN) 2,353.00p 6.91%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 163.00p 4.99%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 520.20p 4.35%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,912.50p 3.13%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,205.10p 3.00%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 251.90p 2.94%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 283.80p 2.86%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,824.00p 2.66%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 610.40p 2.55%
Aviva (AV.) 410.60p 2.32%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 915.60p -6.25%
Fresnillo (FRES) 882.84p -3.98%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,009.00p -3.89%
Evraz (EVR) 462.50p -3.06%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 165.35p -2.25%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,184.00p -2.11%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,387.00p -1.81%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,481.40p -1.80%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,813.00p -1.79%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 5,472.00p -1.53%