StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks are edging higher after a flat open on Thursday amid political uncertainty in the United States and continued US-China trade concerns.

At 0858, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 5.35 points, or 0.071%, at 7,579.59.

Oil company Premier Oil edged 1.15% higher after reporting that underlying earnings for continuing operations in the first half of 2018 increased to $388.9m, from $325.9m a year earlier. This came on the back of higher average oil and gas prices realised during the period to 30 June, offsetting lower production.

Gambling technology company Playtech jumped 8.28% despite posting a 34% fall in adjusted net profits to €83.3m. Disappointing market conditions in Asia offset an increase in revenue.

Infrastructure developer John Laing leapt 9.82% after reporting that its first-half profits and net asset growth were bolstered by gains from the sale of the company's stake in Intercity Express Programme.

Pharma company AstraZeneca was little changed at just 0.067% higher on Thursday after announcing that results from a recent study showed its drug to improve lung function in patients with moderate to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was not more effective than alternative treatments.

Insurance firm Phoenix edged 0.79% higher after saying it expected to "exceed the upper end" of its cash generation target of £1-£1.2bn between 2017 and 2018 as it completed the integrations of its AXA and Abbey Life ahead of plan.

International building materials group CRH climbed 2.65% as it reported that first-half profits grew even as severe and prolonged winter weather conditions early in the year hurt performance.

Specialist lender OneSavings Bank fell 2.75% despite reporting a 17% year-on-year increase in half-year pre-tax profit to £91.8m and raising its net loan book growth targets to the high-teens.

Smart infrastructure solutions company Costain slipped 0.49% after announcing it had been commissioned by Network Rail to develop a new type of enhanced warning technology which would help reduce the number of incidents at passive footpath and bridleway level crossings across Britain.

Wealth manager AFH fell 0.30% after reporting it had completed the acquisition of the client portfolios of Harvey Curtis based in Burgess Hill West Sussex for a total up to £2.63m.

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