UK stocks : FTSE 100 index loses 0.3 pct
The drug company lost 2.8 percent and took the most points off the index as it said an experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug proved inferior to Abbott Laboratories' Humira in a clinical study, knocking hopes for one of the few late-stage products in the company's pipeline.
In all, the health care sector took 6 points off the index.
"AstraZeneca have had a relatively good run, so I suspect people are using this as an opportunity to take profits," said Savvas Neophytou, analyst at Panmure Gordon.
Profit taking was seen as a theme across the index, with the FTSE expected to resume its upward path heading into the year end despite the session's losses.
"It is a temporary setback, [for only] a couple or days or so," Valerie Gastaldy at technical analysis firm Day By Day said.
"The index should rise again into 2013 first week, at 6050/6100."
Strategists predict that the FTSE 100 will rise to 6,100 by mid-2013 and 6,400 by the end of 2013, with top-end estimates reaching 7,000, according to a Reuters poll released today.
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