FTSE Close: UK stocks cool as drugmakers feel heat

The FTSE 100 ended lower on Friday, giving up 1.0%, to close at 7,576.36 as a post-Fed rally cooled across stock markets. The UK blue-chip index had jumped over 100 points in the previous session. The mid-cap FTSE 250 also slid 0.3%, finishing at 19,208.97.

Shares in pharmaceutical heavyweights came under intense pressure after reports emerged that US Senator Elizabeth Warren has accused AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline of improperly filing patents to suppress competition for key medications. AstraZeneca (AZN) shares fell by 2.7% while GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) also fell 2.9%.

Specifically, Warren’s letter called out AstaZeneca’s Symbicort asthma inhaler and Glaxo’s Advair and Flovent inhalers as products that have seen prices climb due to alleged abusive patent practices. The news weighed on the wider healthcare sector.

Meanwhile, shares of train ticketing platform Trainline (TRN) powered 11% higher after the UK government scrapped previously announced plans for a state-owned national rail app that would have challenged Trainline’s business. Pub operator Marston’s PLC (MARS) also jumped 5.3% following an analyst upgrade.

Shares in Naked Wines (WINE) bounced 9% after the struggling online wine retailer outlined further cost-cutting plans in a bid to recover from a 20% slide in sales that has raised ongoing concerns.

On the AIM index, geo-energy firm Getech Group (GTC) plummeted 27% as it warned of delayed projects and lowered its 2023 revenue guidance to £4.4 million. Digital media firm XLMedia (XLM) also plunged 12% on downgraded forecasts due to loss of a key US partner.