Market report: AstraZeneca heads for the stars on broker backing

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As shoppers queued round the block on Black Friday, investors were doing some bargain-hunting of their own, stocking up on cut-price shares in AstraZeneca.

Shares in the drugs giant advanced 38.5p to 4248.5p after broker Liberum argued that Astra’s 20% market dive since its bearish September note made it worth a punt.

Astra’s market rally began to unravel in October after it stopped recruiting patients for a trial of its leading cancer drug durvalumab, which forms part of its crucial Mystic study that also includes its tremelimumab treatment.

It has now resumed enrolment, but Liberum analyst Roger Franklin thinks the share price suggests the study, seen as the next big catalyst for the shares, has zero chance of success.

The results of the trial are expected in the first six months of next year.

“We think investors are now paying nothing at all for the high-risk but high-potential durva+treme franchise,” said Franklin, who upgraded Astra from Hold to Buy.

Trading volumes remained light and the FTSE 100 was off 5.07 points at 6824.13, with Wall Street reopening for only half a day after Thanksgiving.

Oil rig-maker Lamprell surged 4.16p to 83.91p after winning a $225 million (£180.5 million) contract to help build a wind farm in the North Sea.

Arden analyst Daniel Slater said: “Today’s contract goes a long way towards fully covering 2017 (we expect around 80% of our revenue forecast).”

There was worse news for another North Sea stalwart as Ithaca Energy dived 6.75p to 83.75p after a two-month production delay at its Stella oilfield.

Innovaderma rose 3p to 78p as it issued shares at 70p a pop to raise £540,000 for Skinny Tan, a  fake-tan-cum-slimming product that was bought by the company last year from the founders and Dragons’ Den stars Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney, who backed Skinny Tan on the TV show.

Over on AIM, hospital billing software provider Constellation Healthcare Technologies soared 36.67p or 20% to 222.67p after a £247 million buyout by founder and chief executive Paul Parmar and US firm CC Capital.

Constellation listed on the junior market less than years ago at 135p per share.

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November 26, 2016 |
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