Updates from Pearson, Afren and Boeing

The FTSE 100 climbed 22 points on Friday hitting 6,154.4. The biggest riser was Evraz, up +4.46% while retailer Kingfisher - it announced CEO Euan Sutherland quits at the end of January - endured a -4.28% fall.

Overnight in Asia, the Nikkei experienced some buffeting, dipping -1.52% while the Hang Seng also slipped, by -0.10%.
First off this morning is a trading statement from Pearson. The media and education operator saw weaker trading in the fourth quarter. But for 2012 as a whole it expects good revenue growth at constant exchange rates. It anticipates operating profit of £935m.

The Financial Times Group will likely report good revenue growth for the full year, in spite of a slow fourth quarter caused by weaker advertising sales. Digital and subscription-based revenues continued to grow well at both the FT and Mergermarket, it claims.

"The 2012 results," it says, "will reflect the absence of a profit contribution from FTSE International (£20m of operating profit and 2.2p of EPS in 2011) and the impact of the radically-changed trading environment for Pearson in Practice, which led to the recent decision to plan to exit that business."

Next, oil and gas operator Afren, currently invested deep in Nigeria and Kurdistani Iraq. Full year 2012 net production is in line with guidance at 42,830 boepd it says; full year 2013 estimated net production estimated to average between 40,000 boepd to 47,000 boepd (excluding Barda Rash).

Total revenue for 2012 is expected to be around US$1,500 million, compared with US$597 million in 2011. The hike in revenue is due to higher sales volumes in 2012, principally due to increased production from the Ebok and Okoro fields offshore Nigeria, Afren says, together with continued strength in commodity prices.

"In 2013 we expect," it says, "to further grow our reserves base through a multi-well exploration and appraisal drilling campaign in both established and new basins, while continuing to grow our production base. We are financially well positioned with robust cash flows."

Lastly, worries continue for Boeing. The BBC reports that US and Japanese authorities have initiated a joint investigation into the Japanese battery maker responsible for Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner aircraft, GS Yuasa.

Shares in Boeing have fallen sharply following concern about the safety of the new airliner. Currently Boeing shares are trading at the $75 mark, though this is somewhat higher than when shares dipped under the $73 threshold towards the end of last week.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has ordered European airlines to ground all new Dreamliners until the risk of more battery fires are eliminated.

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