London Markets: AstraZeneca climbs while GlaxoSmithKline eases as FTSE 100 slips

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, wears a face mask as a precautionary measure against spreading COVID-19 and talks to a patient participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial at Oxford Vaccine Group’s facility in Oxford, England, on June 24, 2020.

steve parsons/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline headed in opposite directions on Monday, as the two heavyweight pharmaceuticals were in the spotlight over coronavirus news.

AstraZeneca AZN, -0.57% AZN, -2.95% rallied nearly 6% in London as traders eagerly awaited the publication of clinical data in medical journal The Lancet on the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, which the U.K. drugmaker will distribute.

AstraZeneca shares have climbed over 12% in the last five days alone.

GlaxoSmithKline GSK, -1.45% GSK, -0.28%, meanwhile, weakened 0.2% as the U.K. drugmaker reached a deal worth up to £866 million to take a nearly 10% stake in Germany’s CureVac and fund up to five vaccines.

An AIM-listed stock, Synairgen SNG, +360.27%, jumped 370% after announcing positive results from a trial in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The odds of developing severe disease during the treatment period were significantly reduced by 79% for patients receiving its SNG001 compared with patients who received placebo, the company said.

The broader FTSE 100 UKX, -0.69% slipped 0.5%, the worst-performing of the major European indexes. Analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove noted the U.K. is by far the worst performing index in dollar terms this year — and in each of the past five years — though they now upgraded the U.K. to neutral from underweight.

The analysts say the worst of the fallout from the reduction in dividends is now over.

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