The London market edged into positive territory in afternoon trading after Britain's factory output fell at the fastest pace in a year in July.
Office for National Statistics figures showed manufacturing production fell by a bigger-than-expected 0.9% month-on-month, signalling that factory owners saw no immediate benefit from the drop in the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The FTSE 100 Index rose nine points to 6,835, as traders also waited on the appearance of Bank of England governor Mark Carney in Westminster for a grilling in front of MPs on whether he overreacted to the UK vote to leave the EU by cutting interest rates in half to 0.25% last month. The FTSE 250 index lifted 23.4 points to 18,026.9.
In the second tier, retailer Sports Direct was a big faller after it estimated its underlying full-year earnings will dive by 21% to £300m ($400m, €357m) this year, from 12 months ago due to tough high street conditions.
Also, in a stormy shareholders' meeting held by the retailer major investor Standard Life said it would vote for the removal of the chain's chairman and for a board able to "challenge" billionaire founder Mike Ashley. Shares fell 19.7p to 330p.
In afternoon trading the biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Ashtead Group (+40p to 1,298p), Randgold Resources (+130p to 7,740p), Royal Dutch Shell (+30p to 1,968.5p), Aviva (+5.8p to 440.5p) and Fresnillo (+29p to 1,723p).
The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Berkeley Group Holdings (-82p to 2,701p), Worldpay Group (-7.8p to 286.6p), Persimmon (-40p to 1,830p), Barratt Developments (-9.7p to 497.3p) and Taylor Wimpey (-3p to 160.6p).
In afternoon trading the biggest risers in the FTSE 250 Index were Vectura Group (+15.8p to 142.7p), Paragon (+12p to 324.5p), Weir Group (+59p to 1,603p), OneSavings Bank (+9.8p to 270.1p) and Evraz (+4.9p to 137.9p).
The biggest fallers in the FTSE 250 Index were CMC Markets (-32.7p to 244.4p), Sports Direct International (-19.7p to 330p), IG Group (-49.5p to 895.5p), Just Eat (-28p to 541.5p) and Thomas Cook (-2.8p to 72.1p).