StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks are edging higher in early Thursday trading as a torrent of Brexit-related news floods the market following cabinet approval of the draft Brexit deal.

At 08:58, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.47%, or 32.95 points, at 7,066.74.

3i Group slipped 1.88% despite reporting that total return had increased 10% in the first half of the year driven by "good" performance from larger private equity investments.

Antofagasta climbed 1.73% as it said Thursday it was granted approval to expand its Los Pelambres mine with first production expected in the second half of 2021.

Infrastructure services group Kier edged 0.34% higher after it said it had reached an agreement to sell KHSA to Downer Group for up to AUS$43.7m, or about £24m in cash.

Royal Mail slumped 2.67% after reporting a 25% drop in first-half profit as the company suffered from lower UK revenue due to declining letter volumes, poor UK productivity performance and smaller profit margins at its GLS European logistics arm.

Defence technology company Qinetiq added 2.73% after it said "significant" campaign wins and strong organic growth had left it "well-placed" to meet its full-year expectations as it reported a 7% increase in first-half revenue.

International private hospital group Mediclinic fell 4.67% as it reported a 15% drop in first-half profit as regulatory changes in Switzerland impacted performance, outweighing the revenue growth seen by the company's South Africa and Middle East divisions.

Thermal processing services company Bodycote slipped 1.92% as it said Thursday the pace of revenue growth would moderate in the last two months of the year against a tough comparative from last year, but maintained its full-year guidance.

Self-storage company Safestore lost 1.18% despite reporting an increase in group revenue of over 11% in the fourth quarter of 2018, with both the UK and Paris trading divisions reporting growth.

Card Factory gained 1.47% after it reported slower like-for-like growth in nine months through October compared with a year earlier, but reiterated its guidance for full-year earnings ahead of the crucial Christmas period.

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