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FTSE edges higher as AstraZeneca shrugs off drug disappointment

Discussion in 'Market News' started by Lily, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. Lily

    Lily Forum Member

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    Pharmaceutical group has setback for Brilinta in stroke patient trials

    Leading shares are holding firm despite the terrorist attacks in Brussels, albeit in quiet trading ahead of the Easter weekend.

    AstraZeneca has added 2p to 3917p, shrugging off disappointing results from a clinical trial. Its Brilinta heart drug failed to help stroke patients, with the blood thinning treatment not significantly better than aspirin. Further trial data is expected in the second half of the year, but this latest outcome dents hopes the treatment could reach sales of $3.5bn by 2023. AstraZeneca’s Ludovic Helfgott told Reuters:

    It’s a setback but at this stage we are not providing any new guidance on the overall [sales] number.

    European markets continue to show remarkable resilience in the face of yesterday’s terrorist attacks, moving higher in early trade and continuing their defiant stance from yesterday which saw markets shrug off their early flight to safety and finish in positive territory.

    After sinking into the depths of despair in January and February, are markets now starting to become complacent? Perhaps the best measure of fear versus greed is the US VIX index, which effectively measures the cost of downside protection for equity portfolios. After rising to a high of over 30 in early February, the VIX has since dropped to its lowest levels since last summer’s sharp market decline, slipping to just 13.8 in trading yesterday. The last six weeks have seen commodity markets stage a remarkable recovery and central banks have stepped up their support - but investors need to start asking difficult questions about whether the global macro outlook has changed so much in such a short space of time to support further upside?

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