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AstraZeneca shares drop despite strong results and upbeat 2024 outlook

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 …

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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