In the UK the FTSE 100 Index has closed 6.70 points up at 5270.30 led by AstraZenica up 132p or 5.62% to 2480p.
The jump in Europe's third-largest drugmaker’s share price follows the announcement that David Brennan, who oversaw the marketing of the company's best-selling Nexium ulcer treatment as head of U.S. operations, will replace Chief Executive Tom McKillop. McKillop will leave the company at the end of the year.
Other gains today include Rolls-Royce which soared more than 10% after it boosted its dividend and half-year profits.
The group’s stock gained 30p to 342p after the company announced to investors that it would be providing a 5% increase in the interim dividend to 3.34p per share – the first rise since 2001.
Schroder’s also had a good day rising 34p, or 4.22%, to 839p after Citigroup Smith Barney upgraded the fund manager to 'buy' from 'hold'.
The US broker also raised its price target to 934p from 800p, saying the first-half results next month could provide further upside.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 42 point, or 0.4%, to 10,679.20 led by Starbucks which has climbed $2.65 to $53. The No. 2 U.S. coffee-shop chain expects fiscal 2005 per-share earnings of $1.19 to $1.20, up from a previous forecast of $1.17 to $1.19. Third-quarter profit beat the average analyst estimate in a Thomson survey.
Bristol-Myers, the No. 5 U.S. drugmaker, has also increased adding $0.30 to $25.40. The company expects 2005 per-share earnings of $1.49 to $1.59, up from a previous forecast of $1.35 to $1.45. Second- quarter profit almost doubled to $1 billion on higher sales of the Plavix blood thinner and a tax gain.IFAonline
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