MARKET REPORT: AstraZeneca boosted by breast cancer drug trial

MARKET REPORT: AstraZeneca boosted by breast cancer drug trial

AstraZeneca shares rose after a positive trial of a drug for a common type of breast cancer.

The study found datopotamab deruxtecan showed a ‘statistically significant and clinically meaningful’ improvement in slowing the progression of the cancer when compared with other treatments.

The study will continue to see if the drug – known as Dato-DXd – can help patients live longer than those who get chemotherapy.

It is hoped the drug, which AstraZeneca is developing alongside Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, will become a best-seller for the British pharmaceutical giant.

AstraZeneca shares rose 1.5 per cent, or 160p, to 11046p.

Boost: AstraZeneca shares rose 1.5 per cent, or 160p, to 11046p after the positive drug trial

Boost: AstraZeneca shares rose 1.5 per cent, or 160p, to 11046p after the positive drug trial

The results of the trial will be particularly welcome to the company and its long-serving boss Sir Pascal Soriot as the same drug is also being tested for lung cancer.

However, disappointing results from a separate trial of the drug for lung cancer sent the shares tumbling in July.

AstraZeneca shares also took a knock earlier this month when the Mail on Sunday revealed Soriot has told friends he is considering leaving the company as soon as next year.

With investors still digesting the Bank of England’s decision to freeze interest rates at 5.25 per cent on Thursday, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.07 per cent, or 5.29 points, to 7683.9 while the FTSE 250 fell 0.2 per cent, or 31.7 points, to 18606.8.

While many analysts believe interest rates have now peaked following 14 rises since December 2021, the first cut is not expected until well into next year, with the profile more resembling Table Mountain than Mount Everest.

That means rates will remain at the peak for some time rather than falling quickly following the string of hikes.

Ocado continued its rollercoaster ride with gains of 6.7 per cent, or 43.4p, to 691.2p just a day after it plunged 20 per cent – in what was its worst day on the stock market for 11 years.

The sell-off on Thursday was triggered by a brutal downgrade by analysts at BNP Paribas Exane who said the recent share price rally meant the stock ‘seems now to be out of kilter again’.

UK-based investment firm Zegona Communications is in talks with Vodafone regarding the potential acquisition of the telecom giant’s Spanish business.

According to reports in Madrid, the bid could value the unit at more than £4billion. Vodafone shares fell 0.04 per cent, or 0.03p, to 81p.

Next was given the seal of approval by observers in the City following upbeat results this week. Analysts at JP Morgan raised the target price on Next shares to 7500p from 7300p while UBS increased its target to 7250p from 6850p. But Next shares dipped, dropping 0.7 per cent, or 52p, to 7298p. Hargreaves Lansdown was also in favour among analysts with RBC raising its target price to 900p from 875p. The stock rose 1.7 per cent, or 13.4p, to 825p.

Chemicals group Croda International has hired a new chairman to replace Anita Frew, who has held the position since 2014.

Danuta Gray, who is chairman of Direct Line and a non-executive at Burberry, will join Croda in February and officially take over at the AGM in April. Croda shares rose 1.1 per cent, or 54p, to 4935p.

There was also a shake-up at catering giant Compass, with Gary Green stepping down as chief operating officer for North America after 40 years with the company. Chief financial officer Palmer Brown will take over, with Petros Parras, the finance director for Europe and the Middle East, succeeding him.

Green said he was ‘honoured’ to have led the business in North America. He will step down at the end of November.

Compass shares fell 1.4 per cent, or 29p, to 2017p.

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