- Stronger utility companies helped lift the FTSE 100, led higher by National Grid (NG.).

National Grid sparked 2.8% higher to 779.5p and Severn Trent (SVT) rose 1.7% to £17.65. British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) was also up 0.6% at 142p.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.1% higher at 7,157.

UK annual house price growth slowed to 1.8% in February according to Halifax's latest house price index.

Brent crude oil fell 0.9% to $65.18 per barrel. Copper declined 0.9% to $3.11 per pound and gold was down 0.2% at $1,330 per ounce.


US equities declined following the resignation of US President Donald Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn who opposed Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

The Dow Jones experienced the biggest fall and was down 0.8% at 24,671 around 5pm UK time.


Aerospace specialist Rolls-Royce (RR.) delivered strong results in 2017 with sales and pre-tax profits both rising, prompting a share price rally of 11.4% to 924p.

A change in strategy at Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group (RTN) started to pay off after its full year results were ahead of expectations. Its shares jumped 7.2% to 254.6p.

Bookie Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) announced it was hiking its marketing spend to help deal with the impact of regulatory changes in the gambling industry. Investors overlooked rising sales in 2017, marking the shares 3.2% lower to £79.55.

Legal & General (LGEN) said it would benefit from a one-off US tax benefit of £246m and revealed a 32% increase in pre-tax profits to £2.1bn.

Shares in construction firm Hill & Smith (HILS) advanced 4.9% to £12.97 after reporting sales hit a new high of £585.1m last year and pre-tax profits also rose.

IT services firm FDM (FDM) ticked 6.1% to 942p on decent full year results.


Waste management company Biffa (BIFF) revealed China's policy turnaround on receiving waste to recycle will hit its resource recovery and treatment division, causing the shares to slump 10.7% to 221p.

Instem (INS) soared 21.4% to 227.6p after announcing one of the world's largest chemical products companies adopted its software as a service delivery model to access solution via the Instem Cloud.

Over a third of waste treatment solutions provider Nature Group (NGR) was wiped off on an uncertain financial position. The company said if it failed to sell its subsidiary Nature Oil & Gas, it would face serious liquidity constraints and would need additional funding to survive.

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