Pearson shares reverse course, fall 2.5%

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That didn’t last long.

Pearson’s shares have reversed their early gains, tumbling toward the bottom of the FTSE 100 after starting the morning on a positive note.

At publication time shares in the company, which reported a £2.5bn annual loss this morning, were down 2.7 per cent, at 628p, making it the second-worst performer in the UK’s benchmark index.

Steve Liechti, analyst at Investec, said the main figures were “fine”, but a huge writedown on the value of its US higher education business “is likely to be highlighted today”, and emphasised the company’s “overly optimistic commentary and poor CEO/management credibility”.

Analysts at Liberum said the writedown – of more than half the goodwill on its North American assets – suggests “a more negative long-term picture”.

They added that Pearson’s latest net debt figures were better than expected, but said the lack of a new cost saving programme “will come as a disappointment to those who were looking for more savings”.

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