Pearson’s shares slumped 16% to 997.7p after noting that conditions in its end markets were yet to improve. It says adjusted earnings per share — its key metric for profitability — would be 'around the bottom end' of a range of 70p to 75p. In February, it had forecast a range of 75p to 80p.
There was also bad news for Argos-to-Homebase chain owner Home Retail (HOME), which slumps 13.4% to 129.7p on a full-year profit warning. The Milton Keynes-headquartered retailer warns annual profit before tax will be 'slightly below' the bottom end of the current £115 million to £140 million forecast range. Argos is the culprit, with CEO John Walden flagging weak first half electrical and seasonal product sales, uncertainty ahead of 'Black Friday' and the costs of its new 'Fast Track' home delivery service, for the expected earnings shortfall.
Troubled platinum miner Lonmin (LMI) is turning to shareholders once again for money to stay alive. It has announced a $400 million rights issue. It seems strange that the shares rise 4.3% to 30.25p given that its $266 million market cap is less than the rights issue amount, so the fundraise is going to heavily dilute shareholders, plus the fact that it has already got through $817 million raised three years ago. Numis comments: ‘We don’t see a strong rationale in giving a loss making business any more money with no visibility on the company returning to profitability.’
Ortac Resources (OTC:AIM) falls 14.3% to 0.06p after a discounted share placing at 0.05p to raise £400,000. It is trying to advance a copper project in Zambia, but ultimately battling weak commodity prices.
Construction services group Sweett (CSG:AIM) jumps 19% to 25p after selling its Asia Pacific and India businesses for £9.3 million cash, helping reduce group debt.
Consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) rises 2.5% to £63 as the Nurofen, Air Wick and Scholl brand owner increases its full-year like-for-like revenue growth target from 4.5% to 5% following a strong third quarter.
Theme park operator Merlin Entertainments (MERL) rises 2.2% to 379.8p on news it has set up a joint venture with China Media Capital to build a Legoland Park in Shanghai. The joint venture will look at rolling out Merlin's Dungeons and Legoland Discovery Centres brands throughout China and develop new concepts such as 'DreamWork Tours - Kung Fu Panda Adventures'.
Cancer killing proton machine-maker Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO:AIM) rises 3.7% to 7p on selling a LIGHT system to the China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, one of the largest hospitals in northeast China. The deal is worth between $75 million and $80 million, depending on the treatment room fit-out.
Trinidad E&P Trinity Exploration (TRIN:AIM) is up 75% to 8.75p as it agrees to sell its interests in the WD-2, WD-5/6, WD-13, WD-14 and FZ-2 licences and related assets to Touchstone Exploration for $20.8 million. It also agrees a further extension to the repayments of its outstanding $13 million debt until Friday.