Blue chip shares struggled for direction even as Royal Bank of Scotland edged closer to settling a lawsuit from shareholders who say they were misled over the bank's financial health before its near-collapse.
The bank, 72% owned by the taxpayer, was granted a second adjourned day at the High Court in London as it neared a deal to settle a £700m lawsuit brought by 9,000 retail investors and 18 institutions in the RBS Shareholder Action Group.
The FTSE 100 Index lifted 10 points to 7506.3 in afternoon trading, in subdued trading the day after a suicide bomb attack at a concert in Manchester left 22 people dead and 59 injured.
In London, RBS rose 2% as it looks increasingly likely that disgraced former RBS boss Fred Goodwin will not be called to give his account of the events leading up to the government's £45.5bn bailout in 2008. Shares lifted 5p to 266.6p.
Water utility Severn Trent was also higher after enjoying a bumper year that saw it manage to combine a rise in profit and low customer prices, while notching up fewer leaks and floods.
The FTSE 100 group, which serves 4.4 million customers in the Midlands and mid-Wales, said underlying pre-tax profit rose 4.3% to £525m ($682m) in the year to the end of March compared to 12 months ago. Shares rose 1.5%, or 37p to 2485p.
Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst George Salmon said: "Severn Trent continues to eke out cost efficiencies, while a £47m reward payment from water regulator Ofwat is testament to the fact these savings are not being made by compromising on the service the company delivers to its four million-plus customers."
The biggest afternoon risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Babcock International (+23.5p to 965p), EasyJet (+31p to 1300p), Royal Bank of Scotland (+5p to 266.6p), Convatec Group (+5.2p to 311.2p) and Rentokil Initial (+4p to 259.5p).
The biggest afternoon fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Marks & Spencer Group (-6.8p to 388.7p), Mediclinic International (-15p to 872p), Intu Properties (-4.5p to 263.1p), Kingfisher (-6p to 362.1p) and WPP (-21p to1689p).
The biggest afternoon risers in the FTSE 250 Index were Homeserve (+80.5p to 782.5p), Greencore Group (+18p to 245.2p), Syncona Limited (+8.5p to 161.5p), Allied Minds (+6.3p to 147.6p) and UDG Healthcare (+27p to 793p).
The biggest afternoon fallers in the FTSE 250 Index were Restaurant Group (-19.7p to 317p), Hunting (-17.5p to 554.5p), IP Group (-4p to 139p), ZPG (-10p to 360p) and Aveva Group (-49p to 1994p).