Drug maker AstraZeneca sees gains on broker upgrade

| August 5, 2008 | 0 Comments
Drug maker AstraZeneca sees gains on broker upgrade

European equities markets saw gains Tuesday after the banking and airlines sectors produced positive earnings reports and broker upgrades.

In London, the FTSE 100 added 2.52 percent to 5,454.5 while the FTSE 250 gained 3.28 percent to 9,075.7 on Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER; TYO: 8675) upgrades in the pharmaceuticals and airlines sectors.

Drug maker AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN; NYSE: AZN) jumped 2.49 percent on an upgrade while the broker also upgraded British Airways (LSE: BAY; NYSE: BAB) from “underperform” to “buy” on the chances that European Union regulators will approve a merger with Spain’s Iberia (IBEX-35: IBLA).

Elsewhere in Europe, the Eurofirst 300 was up 2.55 percent while the Paris CAC-40 was 2.47 percent higher to 4,386.35, the IBEX added 2.65 percent to 11,751.4 and the Dax gained 2.66 percent to 6,518.7.

On the other hand, equities markets in the Asia-Pacific region were lower again.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.14 percent to 12,914.66 while the Topix index fell 0.04 percent to 1,247.71 and the Mothers market dropped 0.83 percent to 472.52.

Elsewhere in the region, the Kospi was down 0.49 percent to 1,535.54 and the Straits Times Index fell 0.54 percent to 2,860.51 while in Australia the S&P/ASX200 was 1.38 percent lower to 4,820.4 and the Sydney Ordinaries dropped 1.52 percent to 4,882.

The Shanghai Composite was 1.86 percent lower to 2,690.75, the Taiex was down 2.35 percent to 5,813.4, and the Hang Seng fell 2.51 percent to 21,949.75.

India’s Sensex was one of the few gainers on the day, adding 2.63 percent to 14,961.07.

At midday in New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 1.83 percent to 11,490.22 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.65 percent to 2,323.29 and the S&P 500 was 1.76 percent to 1,270.97 on lower prices for oil and other commodities and after service sector activity fell less than had been anticipated in July.

Crude oil prices fell again, while prices for both metals and grains were mixed.

The US dollar saw gains versus the euro while the yen gained on most currencies and the pound weakened on new economic data.

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