StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 kept its positive momentum going thanks to a 1.3% jump in oil major Royal Dutch Shell and gains in utility companies.

Severn Trent and British Gas owner Centrica both rose by up to 1% each. The blue-chip index closed 0.5% higher at 7,701.

Brent crude oil advanced 0.2% to $74.67 per barrel.

US economic growth hit a four-year high in the second quarter, but this failed to kick-start equities with the best performer Dow Jones recording only a 21.2 points increase to 25,548 around 4:45pm UK time.

Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser rallied 7.9% to £68.10 after hiking its sales guidance thanks to a robust performance from its infant formula business.

There was good news from miner BHP Billiton following its decision to sell its interest in US oil and gas assets for $10.8bn. The market approved of the move, marking the stock 2% higher to £17.07.

Shares in Rightmove reversed 3.1% to £49.34 despite rising profits and sales as investors focused on slow membership growth, prompting competition concerns.

Car dealership group Inchcape fell 7.2% to 727p on a 15.6% decline in pre-tax profit in the six months to 30 June amid challenges in its retail market.

Telecoms firm BT revealed a rise in first quarter profits, sparking share price gains of 5% to 236p.

Technology outsourcing business Equiniti announced full year earnings are forecast to hit the top end of market expectations, pushing the shares 6.2% higher to 221p.

Publisher Pearson moved into profitability, driven by asset sales and cost cutting, helping the share increase 3.6% to 957.4p.


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