Pearson slumps as coronavirus concerns weigh on FTSE 100

Pearson stumbled again in London trade on Friday on a forecast of a steep profit decline for the educational publisher.

PearsonPSON, -5.65%PSO, -5.17%fell 4.8% as the educational publisher forecast adjusted operating profit of between £410 million to £490 million, down from £581 million in 2019.

“Pearson has seen a big drop in demand for its printed textbooks in the U.S. and is in the middle of moving to more online provision of educational material. Despite a small rise in the dividend and optimistic talk by the outgoing CEO about the strength of the company’s new digital learning platform, the market is clearly waiting to see some tangible evidence of an improvement in the key North American market,” said Ian Forrest, investment research analyst at the Share Centre.

Pearson shares have dropped 37% over the last 52 weeks.

Worries over the coronavirus spread beyond China and into Japan and South Korea weighed on the FTSE 100UKX, -0.50% , which fell 0.2% to 7423.40.

Burberry GroupBRBY, -2.66% , a luxury-goods company reliant on Asian demand, fell over 2%.

There were some advancers in the FTSE 100 including Polymetal InternationalPOLY, +3.14% , which rose 3.1% and has benefited from the rally in gold futuresGC00, +1.67% .

Shares of U.K. property firm Daejan HoldingsDJAN, +55.13%jumped 55% to £80 after Daejan received a £80.50-per-share offer from Freshwater Group, whose founding family already owns nearly 80% of the firm. Daejan is the last FTSE 350 firm without any female board members.

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