Pearson share slide drags down FTSE 100

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(Close): Embattled publisher Pearson faced new woes on Thursday as its share price ended the day 6.7% lower.

The company, which reported the biggest annual loss in its history earlier this year, was the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 after going ex-dividend.

Overall, the benchmark index was down 25 points or 0.34% at 7,306.98.

On the currency markets, the pound was virtually unchanged against the dollar at $1.2481 and up 0.14% against the euro at 1.1723.

Pearson's fall was exacerbated by a broker downgrade from Exane BNP Paribas.

Three other stocks also suffered from going ex-dividend.

Lloyds Banking Group shed 2.9%, while insurer Aviva dropped 2.8% and Paddy Power Betfair lost 2.3%.

The biggest climber on the FTSE 100 was Easyjet which rose by 4.2% after reporting passenger numbers grew by 10.6% in March.

It was followed by property groups British Land, which was up by 2.3%, Persimmon, up by 2.1%, Barratt Developments 1.9% higher and Land Securities which rose 1.7%.