Why easyJet plc, Pearson plc and Petra Diamonds Limited Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is dropping back a smidgen today after a couple of unexpectedly weak trading updates from FTSE 100 companies, and was down nine points to 6,817 by late morning. After an eight-point fall yesterday, the index of top UK shares is slipping away from beating that elusive high of 6,876 points which would bring us a new 14-year record.

But what’s the bad news today? Here’s a look at three companies from the FTSE indices:


What a shock, easyJet shares aren’t suppose to fall! They did today, after the budget airline released a first-quarter update, but it was only a relatively small fall of 42p (2.4%) to 1,701p — the shares have still doubled in value over the past 12 months.

Revenue for the quarter rose by 7.7% to £897m, with the number of passengers up by 4.2% to 14.3 million and revenue per seat up by 3.4%. Cost per seat also rose, by 3%, as anticipated.

The firm did warn us that the adverse timing of Easter this year will impact first-half profits — last year’s favourable timing added an extra £25m in revenue.


Pearson shares have just about kept pace with the FTSE over the past year, but this morning they suffered a 102p (7.9%) drop to 1,196p after the educational publisher issued a profit warning.

Lower margins in the North American higher education market, coupled with restructuring costs from the Penguin Random House merger, mean that adjusted earnings per share for 2013 should come in around 70p, below analysts’ expectations.

Petra Diamonds

Petra Diamonds (LSE: PDL) shares got a nice boost earlier this week after the firm announced the discovery of an “exceptional” 29.6 carat blue diamond at its Cullinan mine in South Africa — the same mine that produced the famous Star of Africa.

But today the price fell back 6.5p (4.8%) to 128p after the firm released a first-half trading update — but it looks good. Production for the half is up 31% to 1.63 million carats, with Petra on track to achieve its guidance of 3 million carats by the end of the year. Revenue is also up, by 19% to $185.5m.

Maybe today’s fall is just a bit of sobriety following the earlier excitement of the big shiny thing.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.