AstraZeneca shares slump in FTSE

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The FTSE 100 Index edged 4.8 points higher to 5885.7

Shares in AstraZeneca have slumped in the FTSE 100 Index after US regulators dealt a blow to its hopes of approval for heart drug Brilinta.

The stock slumped 4% or 139p to 3014p as the US Food and Drug Administration said it wanted more information about a key study into the drug.

The mood was subdued for the rest of the London market as the FTSE 100 Index edged 4.8 points higher to 5885.7 in thin pre-Christmas trading.

Other fallers included BP, which dropped 3.4p to 466.6p, as investors spent a second session worrying about the impact US legal action over the Gulf of Mexico disaster will have on the company’s planned resumption of dividend payments.

Outside the top flight, shares in National Express and Punch Taverns made progress after trading updates from the pair impressed analysts.

Punch lifted 3p to 69.95p as it said its managed pub estate continued to make progress in the 16 weeks to December 11, despite the impact of weather.

And National Express surged 7.8p to 235p as it raised its profit hopes for the year after moves to revamp its bus network paid off earlier than expected.

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