- UK stocks remained largely flat in early trading as clarity was in short supply around the UK's negotiations with Brussels around securing a potential Brexit deal.

The pound had slipped against the euro from around €1.16 to €1.15 by the opening bell.

Opening at 7,175, the FTSE 100 had only risen to 7,179 by 9am.

Some of the index's largest companies announced trading and acquisition updates, with some encouraging outlooks. However, several said revenues from overseas, rather than the UK, were having the biggest impact on their bottom lines.

Dutch-Anglo giant Unilever said significant expansion in emerging market countries had seen its underlying sales grow 2.9% in the third quarter of the year. The figure was split between a rise in volume and prices. Its revenues from Europe and North America remained flat.

This news boosted its UK-listed share price by almost to £46.92, with the company adding to this uplift during early morning trading with a 2% gain by 9am.

Travel and transit company National Express announced a 14.5% increase in group revenue, on a reported basis, in the third quarter of the year, buoyed by strong performance in markets outside the UK.

The company's Spanish and Moroccan division, ALSA, along with operations in North America helped push operating profit up 14.3% on the same period a year ago.

Its share price rose slightly, from 453p to 457p, on the news, trending higher during the morning.

High street retailer WH Smith announced it had agreed to acquire US travel retailer Marshall Retail Group for $400m (£312m) on a cash and debt-free basis to expand its international travel business.

The stationer said the move would double the size of its international travel brand through a push into the highly lucrative US airport market.

After the announcement, WH Smith's share price moved to £22.22 and sustained most of this almost 5% gain through early trading.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said the US Food and Drug Administration had granted the priority review for its metastatic breast cancer drug and set a date for the second quarter of 2020.

The company share price rose slightly to £68.49 but sought to continue to rise in early trading.

Investors were cheered by Domino's Pizza announcing it would look exit its international markets in an orderly manner, with shares rising more than 5% in early trading.

The company made the announcement after reviewing ongoing disappointing sales.

Planned maintenance meant production of some of commodities giant BHP's main business lines fell in the last quarter, the company said. Even so, its share price rose, before beginning to slide back later on.

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