- Declines in retailers, tobacco stocks and utilities offset gains in banks and miners, causing the FTSE 100 to dip 0.4% to 7,285.

SSE dimmed 2.3% to £11.21 and Severn Trent was down 1.1% at £19.12.

Among the biggest fallers were Imperial Brands, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons, with the latter struggling to impress the market with its latest trading.

Supermarket Morrisons retreated 1.2% to 262.4p as investors overlooked higher like-for-like sales by focusing on a decline in pre-tax profit from £200m to £142m in the six months to 5 August.

Brent crude oil slid 0.7% to $79.15 per barrel.


The World Cup tournament and an 18% jump in online net gaming sales helped gambling firm GVC offset the impact of poor weather in the first half of the year, but the stock was flat at £10.61.

Insurer Legal & General completed a £4.4bn buy-in for the British Airways pension scheme, helping the shares nudge 0.7% higher to 252.6p.


Shares in embattled department store chain Debenhams slumped 10.2% to 12p after Mike Ashley's Sports Direct ruled out a full takeover of the company.

Faron Pharmaceuticals revealed its pre-tax losses nearly doubled from €7.1m to approximately €14m in the six months to 30 June, prompting investors to mark the stock 13.6% lower to 104.5p.

There was good news from Bushveld Minerals, up 14.7% at 21.8p on a deal for a 21.2% stake in a new vanadium deposit.

Cell therapy group Oxford BioMedica reported operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £11.9m in the first half of the year, up from a loss of £2.1m. The stock received a 5.3% boost to 856.5p.

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