FTSE makes gains despite Pearson slump

Market trader (file picture) Image copyright Getty Images

Educational publisher Pearson was the stand-out loser on the FTSE 100, shedding nearly 30%.

Pearson said trading in the US was bad, and it is selling its stake in Penguin Random House books business.

Despite the share price fall, the FTSE 100 eked out a 0.38% rise to 7,247.61 points. Risers included Burberry, up 3.6% after a strong trading update.

The pound fell against the dollar and euro, reversing gains made on Tuesday after Theresa May's speech.

BT fell 0.74% after communications regulator Ofcom fined its mobile phone arm EE £2.7m for overcharging 40,000 customers for calling the company's service number while roaming within the EU.

Outside the top flight, FTSE 250 stock Mitie was down 4.7%, having been 13% lower, after the outsourcing firm issued its third profit.

The pound reversed some gains made on Tuesday after Theresa May's outlined a 12-point Brexit plan.

The prime minister's comments on leaving the EU had bolstered sterling. However, on Wednesday the pound fell 0.78% against the dollar to $1.2318 and slipped 0.46% against the euro at 1.1534 euros.

Kathleen Brooks, a research director at City Index, said enthusiasm over Mrs May's Brexit plans may be waning.

"After the rapturous reception to Theresa May's speech, today sterling traders may be taking a finer look at the detail... This is a key reminder that the pound's sensitivity to politics is alive and well, and volatility is here to stay," she said.

In the oil markets, Brent crude prices fell 0.4% to $55.05 per barrel as the greenback strengthened, taking a bite out of the dollar-denominated commodity.

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