UK Stocks Advance Led by Glaxo, AstraZeneca

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UK Stocks Advance Led by Glaxo, AstraZeneca

UK stocks jumped for the third day, the longest rally in nearly two months, with the FTSE 100 Index rising, led by AstraZeneca Plc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc after stock markets reopened on Tuesday following the Easter holiday.

AstraZeneca hit its highest in three years, after reports that Pfizer was in informal talks, which are now discontinued, to acquire the London-based drug maker. Glaxo soared 5.5% on Novartis AG agreeing to buy its cancer-drug business for nearly $16 billion. Anglo American Plc dropped 1.4% after an investor claimed its earnings estimates were exaggerated and the surge in shares was unlikely to continue.

The FTSE 100 advanced 64 points or 1% to 6,689.25 as of 10:55 in London, after the index added 1% last week. The FTSE All-Share Index increased 1% on Tuesday, while the ISEQ Index of Ireland increased 1.1%.

Dan Mahony, fund manager at Polar Capital Holdings Plc, is quoted by Bloomberg as saying that many firms in the health-care industry are laying emphasis on growth.

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“It’s not about quantity it’s about quality, not just getting bigger for the sake of getting bigger but about getting scale in particular markets. Money is cheap right now and as the economy improves, it probably won’t be very cheap for that much longer,” he added.

A measure of health-care firms was the best performer on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Shire Plc, manufacturer of medication for rare diseases gained 4.4% to 3,055 pence. The maker of medical equipment Smith & Nephew Plc increased 1.3% to 877 pence.

Royal Mail Plc surged 2.5% to 521.5 pence. The firm’s stock was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by Bank of America Corp Merrill Lynch, saying it could add as much as 26% buoyed by solid cash generation.

As Marketwatch reports, Anglo American Plc plunged 1.3% as Randgold Resources Ltd lost 1%. Both are mining companies. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com