UPDATE 1-AstraZeneca lifts Britain's FTSE as U.S. midterm rally fades

Reuters

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    * FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct
    * Strong update lifts AstraZeneca 
    * Coca-Cola HBC leads FTSE gainers after update

 (Adds closing prices)
    By Danilo Masoni and Julien Ponthus
    MILAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - A strong update by heavyweight
drugmaker AstraZeneca  AZN.L  lifted Britain's benchmark index
above European peers on Thursday as a global rally that followed
the midterm U.S. elections faded. 
    The FTSE 100  .FTSE  rose 0.2 percent and the Euro Stoxx
 .STOXXE  fell by 0.4 percent while Wall Street opened in
slightly negative territory.
    AstraZeneca  AZN.L  rose 4 percent after strong demand for
its new drugs - especially those for cancer - drove a return to
sales growth in the third quarter and the drugmaker said it now
anticipated years of sustained improvement.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1XJ26F
    "This was a decent set of results with the reiteration of
guidance largely expected. That said, the continued
outperformance from the new product launches and core diabetes
portfolio should be well received," said Liberum analyst Graham
Doyle.
    In the same sector, which is expected to benefit from the
outcome of Tuesday's U.S. elections, Hikma  HIK.L  rallied 5.6
percent after raising full-year revenue expectations for its key
injectables division. Hikma is supplying increased opioid
painkillers amid a shortage in the United States.
    Analysts say a split U.S. Congress is unlikely to
significantly cut government healthcare programmes or reduce
drug prices in the world's biggest and most profitable market.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1XI3KW 
    Coca-Cola HBC  CCH.L  rose 5.1 percent to the top of the
FTSE 100 after the soft drink bottler reported slightly
higher-than-expected quarterly revenue growth, driven by higher
volumes.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1XJ22W
    Inmarsat  ISA.L , however, fell 7.8 percent after trimming
its full-year revenues guidance to the lower end of its previous
target.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1XJ3RT
    Among other companies reporting results was Britain's No. 2
supermarket Sainsbury  SBRY.L , which is seeking regulatory
approval to take over rival Asda. 
    Its shares rose 1.5 percent after cost savings helped it
beat forecasts with a 20 percent increase in first-half profit.
They later pared gains and were down 0.5 percent.
    Jefferies brokerage said the update was largely uneventful
and that developments relating to the 7.4-billion-pound Asda
takeover were key.
    "We believe the market efficiently prices in the possibility
of the deal being blocked and that of an approval being granted
with fairly extensive store disposal requirements," Jefferies
said in a research note.
    Financials provided the biggest boost to the FTSE, with
shares in Lloyds  LLOY.L , HSBC  HSBA.L  and Royal Bank of
Scotland  RBS.L  all rising more than 1 percent as the broader
European banking sector rose on the back of strong results.

 (Reporting by Danilo Masoni
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
 ((Danilo.Masoni@TR.com; +39-02-66129734; Reuters Messaging:
danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; On Twitter https://twitter.com/damasoni))
 
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