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Pearson tops fallers on Economist sale

EconomistMon close: Pearson fell 4.8%, the worst performing FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, after several brokers cut their price targets on the company, which also announced talks to sell its 50% stake in the Economist magazine.

The owner of the Alton Towers theme park saw £180 million wiped off its value after a warning that profits will be hit by impact of the rollercoaster accident last month.

Merlin Entertainments, which also owns Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures, closed all its rollercoasters after the accident which left five people seriously injured. It withdrew advertising campaigns which were due to welcome tens of thousands of summer visitors.

Alton Towers has reopened but chief executive Nick Varney said the company’s profits would take a £47 million hit and it could be 2017 before the business returns to normal.

His comments caused shares in Europe’s biggest theme park operator to fall 8% at one point during the day, before closing down 4.28% at 405p.

Mr Varney said: “The accident was pretty devastating. And we have tried to do the right thing.”

Oil hit four-month lows after Chinese stock markets fell more than 8%. This in turn pushed down shares in BP down 7.4p at 387.3p.

“The pressure on crude oil is taking its toll on the market, given its exposure to the sector. I don’t see this downward pressure relenting for the time being,” said Beaufort Securities sales trader Basil Petrides.

The FTSE 100 ended the session lower by 74.68 points or 1.13% to 6,505.13. The Dax-30 finished the session down by 2.56% to end at 11,056.40 points while the Cac-40 came off by another 2.57% to finish at 4,927.60 points.

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