AstraZeneca stock plunges as firm ends share buyback plan

DRUGMAKER AstraZeneca’s share price plunged yesterday after it suspended its share buyback programme, giving its new chief executive room to step up investment and make acquisitions.

The Anglo-Swedish company, which has suffered a string of clinical trial failures and faces patent expiries, said it was halting the programme after buying back shares worth $2.3bn (£1.4bn) of its initial target of $4.5bn.

It was a dramatic first day for chief executive Pascal Soriot, who was previously at rival Roche.

Shares fell as much as 2.7 per cent following the announcement, but although it remained the FTSE 100’s top faller, the price lifted slightly to close down 1.02 per cent at 2,925p.