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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

How to buy, sell and short AstraZeneca shares

AstraZeneca is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Here, we explain how you can buy, sell and short AstraZeneca shares – and we give a company history and tell you how to analyse its fundamentals.

AstraZeneca Source: Bloomberg

How to buy and invest in AstraZeneca shares

You can buy AstraZeneca shares in two ways: by share dealing or by trading derivatives. Share dealing involves directly investing in AstraZeneca shares, meaning that you take ownership of them. By doing this, you can profit if the price increases, or from any dividend payments made by the company.

Derivatives trading is slightly different, because with products such as CFDs and spread bets, you can speculate on the AstraZeneca share price increasing without having to take direct ownership of the shares themselves. You can also trade with leverage which means that you only need to commit a portion of the position size to receive full market exposure.

Follow the steps below to invest in or trade AstraZeneca shares:

Investing in AstraZeneca shares

  1. Create or log in to your share dealing account
  2. Search for ‘AstraZeneca’
  3. Decide whether you want to trade at quote or on exchange
  4. Choose the number of shares you want to buy
  5. Confirm your purchase and monitor your investment

Trading AstraZeneca shares

  1. Create an IG trading account or log in to your existing account
  2. Decide whether you want to trade CFDs or spread bets
  3. Search for ‘AstraZeneca’
  4. Choose your position size
  5. Confirm your trade and monitor your position

Not sure about which is best for you? Learn more about the differences between trading and investing.

How much would it cost to invest in AstraZeneca?

UK standard commission UK best commission
IG £8 £3
Hargreaves Lansdown £11.95 £5.95
AJ Bell £9.95 £4.95

IG’s best commission is available to active clients who place three or more trades per month. If you’d rather trade on the price of AstraZeneca shares instead of investing, you can do so with derivatives. You’ll be able to:

  • Get full exposure with a small deposit – usually just 20%-25%1 of the full value of the trade
  • Trade spread bets without paying any tax2
  • Hedge your positions with CFDs and offset any losses against potential profits

Open an account now to get started

How to sell and short AstraZeneca shares

Once you’ve invested in AstraZeneca shares, you might want to eventually sell your stake – for example, if the price starts to fall. Equally, you might want to short AstraZeneca shares if you are trading with CFDs and spread bets to speculate on the price falling.

Follow the steps below to sell or short AstraZeneca shares:

Selling AstraZeneca shares

  1. Create or log in to your share dealing account
  2. Search for ‘AstraZeneca’
  3. Select ‘sell’ in the deal ticket to close your current buy position
  4. Enter the number of shares you want to sell
  5. Confirm the sale and research other shares to buy

Shorting AstraZeneca shares

  1. Create an IG trading account or log in to your existing account
  2. Search for ‘AstraZeneca’
  3. Choose your position size
  4. Choose ‘sell’ in the deal ticket to open a short position and speculate on the price falling
  5. Confirm the trade and monitor your position

AstraZeneca's live market prices

Understanding AstraZeneca: a brief history

AstraZeneca was formed on 6 April 1999 following a merger of the Swedish company Astra AB, and the British company Zeneca Group.

Since then, the company has made a series of significant breakthroughs in medical research and treatment of illness. For example, its drug Iressa was approved in Japan for non-small cell lung cancer in 2002. Other medicines that the company makes include vaccines for influenza, drugs to reduce inflammation in a patient’s lungs and treatments for arthritis.

As well as medicinal advancements and inventions, AstraZeneca has also made a series of high-profile acquisitions. These include Cambridge Antibody Technology in 2006, Spirogen in 2013, and Definiens in 2014.

AstraZeneca shares: the basics

The company trades under the AZN ticker, with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and secondary listings on the New York Stock Exchange and the OMX Exchange. AstraZeneca is a component of the FTSE 100.

Between the merger on 6 April 1999 and 6 February 2020, the AstraZeneca share price increased by 185%. The stock gains can be put down to the strong company leadership, as well as the progress that the company has made in producing and distributing medicines that are in high demand.

Below, you can find a price graph which shows the growth in value of AstraZeneca shares between 6 March 2017 and 6 February 2020.

AstraZeneca key personnel: who manages the company?

There are 12 people on the AstraZeneca executive leadership team:

Pascal Soriot

Executive director and chief executive officer

Marc Dunoyer

Executive director and chief financial officer

Katarina Ageborg

Executive vice-president, sustainability and chief compliance officer; president AstraZeneca Sweden

Jose Baselga

Executive vice-president, oncology research and development

Pam Cheng

Executive vice-president, operations and information technology

Fiona Cicconi

Executive vice-president, human resources

Rudd Dobber

Executive vice-president, biopharmaceuticals business unit

David Fredrickson

Executive vice-president, oncology business unit

Menelas Pangalos

Executive vice-president, biopharmaceuticals research and development

Jeff Pott

General counsel

Iskra Reic

Executive vice-president, Europe and Canada

Leon Wang

Executive vice-president, International

What is AstraZeneca’s business model?

AstraZeneca’s business model is based on making medicines and treatments which contribute value to both patients and to society. Their treatments focus on three main areas: ‘oncology’, ‘cardiovascular, renal and metabolism’ (CVRM) and ‘respiratory disease’.

The company has a global presence for developing and distributing medicines in these areas of expertise, including in emerging markets – particularly China. The company is focused on being patient-centric, increasing the use of technology in their medicines, and advancing cutting-edge science in these fields of care.

Fundamental analysis: how to analyse the AstraZeneca share price

If you want to analyse the AstraZeneca share price, you can carry out a fundamental analysis of the company. Fundamental analysis is different to technical analysis – which is primarily concerned with chart patterns and price action – as it attempts to determine the inherent profitability of a company based on financial statements, company leadership and other macroeconomic factors.

You can find the company’s financial information on its website and within the company’s annual report. Some of the fundamental metrics you can use to determine the value of AstraZeneca shares include earnings per share (EPS), price-to-earnings (P/E) and return on equity (ROE).

  • EPS attempts to forecast how profitable AstraZeneca is. To calculate EPS, divide AstraZeneca’s profit by the number of outstanding shares
  • P/E shows how much you’d have to spend on AstraZeneca shares to make $1 in profit. To calculate the P/E ratio, divide AstraZeneca’s share price by its EPS
  • ROE compares AstraZeneca’s income from its assets against its shareholder investments. To calculate ROE, you’d divide AstraZeneca’s net income by stakeholder equity


1 Deposits for leveraged trades are 20%-25% on 99.11% of tier one UK shares.
2 Tax laws are subject to change and depend on individual circumstances. Tax law may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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