- The FTSE 100 gave back earlier gains as weakness in the utility sector threatened to drag the index into the red.

British Gas owner Centrica declined 1.2% to 143.7p and National Grid lost 1.2% to 818.2p.

At closing time, the blue-chip index was only 8.5 points higher at 7,574.

Legal issues surrounding Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, old political advisors of US President Donald Trump weighed on Wall Street.

Manafort was found guilty of tax and bank fraud, while Cohen admitted breaking campaign finance laws.

The S&P 500 advanced only 2.7 points to 2,865 around 4:45pm UK time.

Brent crude oil rallied 2.3% to $74.34 per barrel. Gold gained 0.3% to $1,196 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.4% to $2.68 per pound.


Building services business Grafton gained 2.3% to 794.5p on a strong set of results in the first half of 2018 as sales and operating profit soared.

Outsourcer Capita appointed Go-Ahead's Patrick Butcher as chief financial officer, pushing the stock 1.2% higher to 144.6p.

Shares in cyber security specialist Avast enjoyed a 3.2% increase to 237p after revealing rising billing, sales and profitability in its first half.


Investors focused on the impact of Laura Ashley's sale of its commercial property in Singapore, helping to cut £20.5m in liabilities instead of falling profits. Shares in the retailer soared 25% to 5.4p.

Floor covering company Headlam reported a 5% decline in UK sales in its first half and warned its annual results might be at the lower end of expectations. The bad news failed to move the shares at 452.5p.

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