The end of Friday saw the FTSE 100 edge 0.68% higher to 7,297.43. By a big margin Pearson was the biggest riser, soaring more than 12% to 738p after investors cheered restructuring change and a new overhaul of its US school publishing operation. However shareholders sternly pushed back on chief exec John Fallon's pay package, including a £343,000 bonus, citing annual losses and a profit warning.
Shares in IAG, the owner of British Airways and Iberia, also took flight, rising 5.5% to 603.50p. More cheers too for M&S, up 4.2% after the appointment of Archie Norman was confirmed this morning by the struggling high street retailer.
FTSE 250 player Inmarsat saw its shares heavily down – more than 7.4% – after Barclays Capital downgraded the company to ‘underweight’ and adjusted its target price to 750p on the stock. (Inmarsat finished Friday trading at 761p.) "With the stock having recovered from its lows, the valuation now looks unappealing,” BarCap said.
But Cambridge-based Sepura shares came off much worse, down almost 27% to 11.50p after the digital walkie-talkie business encountered opposition to a Chinese takeover from Germany.
Meanwhile the Government’s attempt to come closer to a diesel car scrappage scheme loomed closer. If it gets a go-ahead up to 15,000 diesel vehicles plus older petrol models may come off the road.
In the US jobs growth was up. New data from the US Department of Labour saw unemployment dip from 4.5% in March to 4.4% in April. The new rate is the lowest since late spring 2007.
IBM shares suffered after investor Warren Buffett sold a third of his holding in the business. The value of Big Blue shares slid 2.4% to $155.15. Buffett has worried about earnings per share, despite some cost cutting.
Oil’s volatility continued today: Brent Crude slipped below $47 a barrel at one point on Friday. Whether OPEC will continue to keep supply tight is not known; it next meets on 25 May.
The pound was worth $1.294 against the dollar, up 0.28%. Against the euro sterling was worth 1.1774, up 0.14%.