Poor company earnings hit European shares, Pearson down 15 pct
* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.6 percent
* Pearson shares slump after EPS warning
* Credit Suisse falls on results, capital hike plans
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday, with British education publisher Pearson slumping after warning on its earnings and Swiss bank Credit Suisse dropping on its plans for capital hikes.
Pearson shares sank about 15 percent after the firm said it expected earnings to be at the bottom end of its range due to lower enrolments at some colleges in the United States and lower school text book purchases in parts of South Africa.
Credit Suisse fell 4.5 percent after announcing plans for capital hikes to raise about 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.28 billion). The bank, which also reported a 24 percent drop in third-quarter net profits, plans to reduce the number of its staff in Switzerland by a net 1,600 in three years and cut the number of its investment bank staff in London.
"The market is reacting to some poor earnings reports, with results from companies like Credit Suisse and Pearson weighing on sentiment," Peter Dixon at Commerzbank said.
"Investors have been looking for a clearer direction for some time now, but the market remains vulnerable to bad news in the current environment." Continuación...