FTSE 100 bolstered by shares in utilities

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Shares in utility firms Severn Trent and United Utilities were the top risers on the FTSE 100 after RBC lifted its rating on both firms to “outperform”.

Severn Trent climbed 4.09% while Severn Trent gained 2.98%.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index closed flat at 7,372.00, edging up by just 3.63 points.

HSBC lost some of its earlier gains but still ended the day 1.8% higher, following a rise in half year profits.

The bank reported a 5% increase in profits to $10.2bn (£7.8bn) and announced a share buyback of up to $2bn.

Cigarette companies remained under pressure following Friday’s news that the US Food and Drug Administration was considering cutting the level of nicotine in cigarettes.

Shares in Imperial Brands ended the day 5.9% lower and British American Tobacco dropped 4.97%, making them the two worst performers on the index.

On the currency markets, the pound gained 0.43% against the dollar to $1.3191 and edged down by 0.15% against the euro to 1.1163 euros.