* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct
* AstraZeneca jumps 9 pct after positive drug trial
* Upgrades boost IAG, Standard Life
* Hikma extends losses
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By Kit Rees and Helen Reid
LONDON, May 12 Britain's top share index set a
record close on Friday, sealing its strongest week since
December as pharmaceutical stock AstraZeneca rose on a
positive drug trial and broker upgrades buoyed individual firms.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index finished the week 0.5
percent higher at 7,435.39 points, a record close and flirting
with its record intraday levels of mid-March. The index was up
1.9 percent on the week, its biggest weekly gain since December.
The victory for centrist Emmanuel Macron in the French
presidential elections spurred investors back into European
AstraZeneca jumped 9 percent after its key immunotherapy
drug durvalumab was shown to reduce the risk of death from lung
cancer in a trial.
The hope is that the drug, which offers an alternative to
chemotherapy, will be a blockbuster treatment for AstraZeneca
with sales in the billions of dollars.
"Their pacific lung cancer trial ... has been taken very
well as it's seen as being quite positive for the upcoming
readouts of the MYSTIC trial, which is what really we're waiting
on from them," Dafydd Davies, partner at Charles Hanover
Investments, said, referring to another of AstraZeneca's cancer
"As the generic drugs have started to bite into some of
their profitability, (it) is very key these new drugs that are
in the pipeline do start making some significant progress, which
is what we are starting to see."
Shares in peer Shire also rose 1.5 percent.
But healthcare firm Hikma was among the weakest blue
chip performers, down 2 percent at a five-month low and taking
losses to nearly 10 percent over the past two sessions after
U.S. approval for its generic drug Advair was delayed on
Brokers J.P. Morgan and Stifel both reduced their target
prices for the stock.
Telecoms companies BT and Vodafone rose 2.7
and 2.3 percent in concert with European telecoms stocks which
were boosted by a merger between United Internet and
Shares in Standard Life also rose 1.9 percent after
RBC raised its rating on the insurer to "outperform".
RBC analysts said that, following the release of the
prospectus for Standard Life's merger with Aberdeen Asset
Management, they had greater conviction that the
insurance business will be sold, which they expect would unlock
On the mid-caps, oil services provider Petrofac
plummeted 14 percent after the firm said Britain's Serious Fraud
Office was questioning its chief executive and chief operating
officer in connection with an ongoing investigation into the
It dragged the mid-cap index down 0.2 percent.
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)