By Callum Keown
London markets made slight gains on Thursday as FTSE 100 miners rebounded and pharma giant AstraZeneca posted strong results.
What’s moving the markets?
Mining giants, which dragged the FTSE 100 down on Wednesday off the back of falling iron ore prices, rebounded to lift the blue-chip index.
Evraz /zigman2/quotes/202291633/delayed UK:EVR -12.59% led the risers, while Fresnillo /zigman2/quotes/201300065/delayed UK:FRES -0.08% , Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL -1.46% and Glencore /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN -0.46% all made gains of more than 1%.
The pharmaceutical sector also drove gains after drugmaker AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +1.96% raised sales forecasts for the year after strong sales from its top-selling lung cancer drug as well as success in China.
GlaxoSmithKline /zigman2/quotes/200381158/delayed UK:GSK +3.57% continued to rise after reporting a 5% revenue rise on Wednesday led by its shingles vaccine.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Pharmaceutical firms and miners gave the index the biggest support, led by a very strong showing from AstraZeneca which has lifted its sales guidance.”
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0330% , which had rallied on Wednesday as Boris Johnson took charge as prime minister and played down the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, remained stable at $1.247.
Which stocks are active?
British engineering company Cobham soared 35% after agreeing to a £4bn takeover by U.S. private equity firm Advent. The U.K. defence supplier’s shareholders will receive 165p per share in cash, a 34% premium to the closing price on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca shares jumped 5.5% as the British drugmaker raised its sales forecast for the year. Revenue from its best-selling lung cancer drug Tagrisso almost doubled to $784 million in the first half of 2019.
The U.K.’s largest listed tech firm Sage /zigman2/quotes/204528931/delayed UK:SGE -0.81% plunged 12.2% after reporting a fall in software revenue in the nine months to the end of June. The company also warned that its full-year operating profit margin would be at the lower end of its 23-25% guidance.