AstraZeneca shares drop despite strong results and upbeat 2024 outlook

AstraZeneca shares fall despite strong 2023 growth and upbeat 2024 outlook.

Mark Rogers

Mark Rogers

Shares in pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) fell 3.9% on Thursday morning despite the company reporting that its pretax profit more than doubled in 2023 and giving an upbeat outlook for continued strong growth in 2024.

The UK-based drugmaker said revenue rose 7% last year on an actual basis to $45.81 billion, while pretax profit climbed to $6.90 billion from $2.50 billion. Earnings per share improved to $3.84 from $2.12.

AstraZeneca’s oncology division was a standout performer, with sales up 23% in the fourth quarter. The company expects low double-digit to mid-teen percentage revenue and core EPS growth this year at constant currency rates.

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Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said AstraZeneca’s “differentiated and growing portfolio” gives it confidence of delivering “industry-leading growth” again in 2024.

The FTSE 100 listed company declared a second interim dividend of $1.97 per share, making a total dividend for 2023 of $2.90 per share.

However, shares fell in late morning trade despite the positive update. The stock is now down 6% since the start of 2024.

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