Publishing and education company Pearson was the day's biggest faller after admitting that its trading and financial performance for 2013 was 'weaker than expected', particularly in North America. The Financial Times owner also gave a cautious outlook for 2014, saying that trading conditions were 'still challenging' in the current quarter.
Budget airline easyJet also flew lower despite seeing a 3.4% jump in revenue per seat during the first quarter, as the number of passengers carried rose 4.2%.
After a strong rise yesterday, Admiral was one of today's biggest fallers. On Wednesday Numis Securities upgraded the stock to 'buy', saying that it sees further upside for car insurance stocks as confidence in earnings, dividends and growth improves.
Supermarket stocks were under the weather this morning with Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrison all trading in the red after gloomy comments from JPMorgan Cazenove which kept 'underweight' positions on all three names.
Meanwhile, Fresnillo was a strong riser as it tracked precious metals' prices higher. This afternoon gold was up 1.27%, while silver gained 1.57%. Randgold Resources was also making strong gains.
High Street giant M&S was also gaining strongly after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the stock by two notches from 'underperform' to 'outperform' on the back of the retailer's turnaround. With the valuation near 10-year lows, the broker said, "now is the time to look beyond recent troubles".
Anglo American Platinum gave its majority-owner Anglo American a lift after saying it will return to profit following higher sales volumes and a favourable rand/dollar exchange rate.
London Stock Exchange was also climbing higher after it said it enjoyed a strong third quarter performance, after solid trading across all businesses, and as it continues to focus on the integration of LCH.Clearnet. Total income for the three months ended December 31st rose 48% to £308.9m and for the nine months to January 22nd climbed 38% to £876.0m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 782.50p +3.71%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 491.20p +2.14%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,390.00p +1.72%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,181.00p +1.46%
Barclays (BARC) 281.60p +1.22%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,876.00p +1.19%
Sage Group (SGE) 430.90p +0.94%
Mondi (MNDI) 976.50p +0.77%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,305.00p +0.74%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 892.50p +0.68%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 1,197.00p -7.78%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,685.00p -3.33%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,422.00p -2.60%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,210.00p -2.58%
ITV (ITV) 197.90p -2.51%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,688.00p -2.14%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 982.50p -2.14%
Standard Life (SL.) 382.00p -2.08%
Royal Mail (RMG) 588.00p -2.00%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 428.50p -1.95%