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AstraZeneca slump dominates European open on busy earnings day

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AstraZeneca slump dominates European open on busy earnings day

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MILAN (Reuters) – The worst-ever single day drop in AstraZeneca <AZN.L> shares following a drug study failure dominated trading activity at the European open on Thursday though a handful of well-received corporate results helped broader indexes nudge higher. Shares in the British drugmaker fell more than 15 percent after a closely watched advanced lung cancer trial failed. Regional healthcare stocks <.SXDP> fell more than 1 percent to their lowest in more than four months. Europe’s STOXX 600 <.STOXX> rose 0.1 percent while euro zone bluechips <.STOXX50E> were up 0.3 percent. Solid results from firms including heavyweight Swiss drugmaker Roche <ROG.S>, beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev <ABI.BR> and Diageo <DGE.L> helped the pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> underpinned gains on broad indexes. Thursday will see the heaviest day of European earnings in the current earnings and by the end of the week about half the market-cap of STOXX 600 will have reported earnings. As of the previous day’s close, a quarter of the companies on the MSCI Europe had issued results with nearly half of them beating profit expectations and 8 percent matching them. Results point to aggregate second-quarter earnings growth of 11 percent. Elsewhere, French firms Elior Group <ELIOR.PA> and Imerys <IMTP.PA> were the worst performers on the STOXX 600 after AstraZeneca after respective results.

(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)
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