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Britain's FTSE lifted by deals and buzz in pharmaceuticals sector

Published on Apr 23, 2014 12:25 AM

LONDON (REUTERS) - Corporate activity in the pharmaceutical sector on Tuesday pushed Britain's benchmark stock index to a two-week high and to within sight of a peak for this year.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca rose 4.7 per cent, with trading volumes in the stock more than three times its 90-day average, after the Sunday Times reported a 60-billion-pound ($126.8 billion) approach from US peer Pfizer.

Both companies declined to comment. Analysts at Citigroup said in a research note they expected Pfizer "to push aggressively ahead with a second approach", referring to the reported rejection of the offer. Pfizer stock rose 1 per cent.

GlaxoSmithKline rose 5.2 per cent after an asset-swap with Swiss peer Novartis, which announced a multi-billion dollar revamp. Shire rose 7.6 per cent on hopes that sectoral takeover activity would spread.

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