* FTSE 100 up 0.6 pct
* Pearson soars after cost-cutting plan
* IAG also issues strong update
* Investors cheer new Marks & Spencer chairman
* Miners, energy stocks recover
(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on
the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
By Kit Rees and Helen Reid
LONDON, May 5 Robust earnings and strength in
resources-linked stocks helped Britain's top share index rise on
Friday, sealing its best week in two months, with Pearson
the standout performer.
Britain's blue chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.7 percent,
reversing earlier losses as the oil price paused its slide,
supporting mining firms and energy stocks.
A series of well-received updates underpinned gains as the
earnings season steamed ahead.
Education publisher Pearson was the top riser,
soaring 12.4 percent following its first-quarter update.
Pearson, which has struggled to keep pace with the rise of
digital content, issued five profit warnings in the space of
four years. In its first-quarter results, the firm cheered
investors with a plan to cut costs and a strategic review of its
Pearson's shares are still down around 9.8 percent year to
"Most of the optimism this morning appears, in our view, to
come from the additional cost-saving plan initiative," said Neil
Campling, head of TMT research at Northern Trust Capital
"While a positive move in theory, we continue to question
why it has taken so long to take action, and why the same will
still take almost three years to execute," Campling said, adding
that the share price bounce seemed to reflect investors covering
short positions on the stock.
Among other bright spots, British Airways-owner IAG
jumped 5.5 percent after posting a better-than-expected set of
results, helping peer easyJet also rise 4.1 percent.
"IAG has reported solid 1Q earnings ... The main reasons
were slightly better passenger yields and lower unit fuel
costs," said Rob Byde, transport analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.
"The outlook statement is limited but reiterates that the
Group expects profits to improve year-on-year."
Marks & Spencer rose 4.7 percent after announcing retail
veteran Archie Norman as its new chairman at a critical time for
the company tackling weakness in its clothing division.
The materials sector added the most points to the index as
oil prices edged higher after falling to a five-month low in the
previous session on growing concerns about global oversupply.
Miners Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
rose around 2 percent, while gold miners Fresnillo
and Randgold Resources jumped 4 percent and 4.3
BP's shares were up 1.5 percent, while Royal Dutch
Shell was up 2.1 percent.
On the mid-caps, satellite communications firm Inmarsat
sank 7.7 percent after Barclays and Berenberg downgraded
the stock, after its first-quarter results on
(Reporting by Kit Rees and Helen Reid; Editing by Toby Chopra)