AstraZeneca is known widely as one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. This drug developer researches and deploys treatments for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infections, and more. Lately, AstraZeneca has been in the news because it’s jumped into the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, so is now a good time to buy or sell AstraZenece shares?
AstraZeneca has long been a favorite stock among investors because the company’s shares pay a handsome dividend and have gradually appreciated in price. If you’re considering adding AstraZeneca to your portfolio, this guide will cover everything you need to know. We’ll explain how to buy AstraZeneca shares online in the UK, highlight top brokers, and take a look at why now might be the best time to buy AZN shares.
- 1 Step 1: Find a UK Stock Broker That Offers AstraZeneca Shares
- 2 Step 2: Research AstraZeneca Shares
- 3 AstraZeneca Share Price History
- 4 AstraZeneca Shares Dividend Information
- 5 Should I Buy AstraZeneca?
- 6 Step 3: Open an Account and Deposit Funds
- 7 Step 4: Buy AstraZeneca Shares
- 8 The Verdict
- 9 eToro – Buy AstraZeneca Shares With No Commission
- 10 Other Vaccine Shares
- 11 FAQs
The easiest way to buy or sell AstraZeneca shares in the UK is to use a registered online stock broker. With a stock broker, you can buy shares of not just AstraZeneca, but also other popular stocks like Amazon, Netflix, easyJet and more.
Choosing the right UK share broker is critical, since this will impact everything from what companies you can trade to how much it costs. To help you find the right one, let’s take a closer look at two of our most highly recommended UK brokers.
1. eToro – Buy AstraZeneca Shares with No Commission
eToro is one of the top stock brokers in the UK, with trading on more than 800 shares from around the globe. You can buy stocks on the London, New York, and Tokyo Stock Exchanges, among others, for access to many of the best shares from anywhere in the world.
You can choose to buy shares in the traditional sense, or you can trade shares through contracts for difference (CFDs), allowing you to go shirt and can increase your effective positions using leverage up to 5:1.
One of the things we like most about eToro is that all trading is 100% commission free. You don’t pay a pence in fees when you buy and sell shares. Rather, you just cover the spread, which is usually well below the industry average. eToro does have some account fees to keep track of, but most of them are easy to avoid.
eToro also has a built-in social trading network, which you can use to generate new trade ideas. The platform enables you to strike up a discussion with other investors. You can also use the copy trading feature to automatically mimic the positions of a more experienced trader.
eToro is fully regulated and subject to the authority of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. In addition, you can feel confident in this broker because all accounts are secured by the government’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The platform also lists an excellent investment app, in addition to a wide range of payment methods that includes PayPal.
- More than 800 shares
- Buy shares or trade CFDs
- 100% commission-free trading
- Leverage up to 5:1
- Low share trading spreads
- Fully regulated by the FCA
- Social trading network with copy trading
- Some account fees
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
2. Plus500 – Share CFD Trading with Tight Spreads
If you’re looking to maximize your position in AstraZeneca or another UK share, Plus500 may be the best broker for you. This CFD broker enables you to trade shares with leverage up to 1:5. So, you can take a large stake in a company with relatively little money in your account. You’ll find shares for around 500 companies available through this broker, most of them based in the UK or US.
Plus500, like eToro, is 100% commission free for share CFD trading. The broker’s spreads are very low and there are few account fees. In our view, this is one of the most cost-effective stock brokers in the UK right now.
This brokerage comes with a feature-packed trading platform that includes price alerts, an economic calendar, and built-in charting. The technical charts are aimed more at beginner investors. You get access to nearly 100 different technical studies, but you won’t get access to the customization features that more experienced traders demand. For trading on the go, Plus500 also offers a handy mobile stock trading app.
Plus500 is fully regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority along with regulators from other European nations. In addition, all accounts are backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so you can be sure your funds are safe.
- Trade nearly 500 shares through CFDs
- 100% commission-free trading
- Leverage up to 1:5 for share trades
- Built-in technical charts
- Price alert feature
- Regulated by the FCA
- Charting features are limited
AstraZeneca is a household name, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worth investing in or that now is the right time to buy. In order to determine whether you should add AZN shares to your portfolio, it’s important to do some background research about this drug maker and the AstraZeneca share price. We’ll cover all the basics you need to know in order to decide if AstraZeneca shares are worthwhile for you.
AstraZeneca is a gigantic corporation with a market capitalization of more than £110 billion. But this pharmaceutical company is also a relatively new one – it was formed in 1999. Before that, Astra was a Swiss drug manufacturer. Zeneca was the pharmaceutical division of UK agrochemical manufacturer ICI, but it was broken off from its parent company in 1993. Astra and Zeneca merged in 1999 to become one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world at the time.
AstraZeneca has grown enormously since the merger. It has acquired a number of medium-sized drug companies, including UK firms like Cambridge Antibody Technology. In addition, AstraZeneca has poured money into research and development to create treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease, infections, respiratory illnesses, and gastrointestinal problems.
The AstraZeneca share price has reflected its growth over the past two decades. When AstraZeneca first listed on the London Stock Exchange, shares sold for around 2,500 pence. Today, AstraZeneca shares are priced at over 9,0000 pence. Much of that growth has come in the past several years, after the company announced a restructuring in 2013 and rejected a takeover bid from Pfizer in 2014.
AstraZeneca’s share price has reached new all-time highs in recent weeks thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced in late April that it partnered with Oxford University to develop a vaccine candidate. As of July, AstraZeneca was moving its vaccine candidate into a combined Phase 2/3 trial.
AstraZeneca has long been a favourite stock for UK dividend investors. This blue chip stock pays out a handsome dividend of 218 pence, which equates to a yield of around 2.5%.
That yield won’t top the list of UK dividend shares, but it’s nothing to sniff at considering the AstraZeneca share price appreciation. Notably, the AstraZeneca shares dividend has been pushed ahead with even as many other companies in the UK and around the world have cut back on their payments to shareholders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Should I Buy AstraZeneca?
Analysts are excited about AstraZeneca, and they have good reason to be. This company has shown extremely strong performance in recent years and it’s far outpacing the broader stock market in 2020. However, it is important to keep in mind that AZN shares recently hit an all-time high. So, is now the right time to buy or sell AstraZeneca shares?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why analysts are bullish about this company.
Cancer Treatments are Taking Off
AstraZeneca has received a lot of attention lately for its coronavirus vaccine candidate, but the company’s true strength lies in oncology. AstraZeneca’s cancer treatments account for 40% of the company’s revenue as of 2019.
Even better, sales of the company’s blockbuster cancer treatments are on the rise. Tagrisso, a drug for treating lung cancer, brought in more than £770 million last year – a year-over-year revenue increase of 58% for that treatment alone.
Expect to see AstraZeneca continue to dominate this market. As it does, the company will continue squeezing even better margins from its cancer treatments and provide a big boost to its bottom line.
Dividend Growth is Likely
That growing bottom line, in turn, means that AstraZeneca is likely to provide even greater rewards for shareholders in the future. The company’s 2.5% dividend yield is below average for the FTSE 100, and in fact the yield has been falling as the AstraZeneca share price appreciation has outpaced dividend growth.
While nothing is certain, it’s likely that AstraZeneca is aware of this trend and may look to remedy it in the future. That could mean a one-time special dividend, particularly if the coronavirus vaccine is successful. Or it could be that the company will slowly ratchet up its dividend payouts in order to better reward shareholders.
Many Drugs in the Pipeline
AstraZeneca has poured money into research and development in recent years, and the fruits of that effort are likely to be borne in the next few years. The company currently has 167 projects in different stages of completion. Even if only a few of those drugs end up making it to market, that potentially represents billions in sales each year going forward.
Step 3: Open an Account and Deposit Funds
Now that you’ve done your research on AZN shares, the next step is to open a brokerage account. We’ll walk you through the process using our recommended broker eToro, which offers a quick sign up process, commission-free trading, and access to shares on the London Stock Exchange.
To get started, navigate to the broker’s website and choose ‘Join Now’ on the homepage. You’ll be prompted to pick a username and password for your account. You’ll also need to provide a few personal details, including your name, address, birthdate, and contact information.
To comply with government regulations, eToro requires that you verify your identity. You will need to upload a copy of your driver’s license or passport along with a utility bill or bank account statement that shows your address. Verification happens automatically online once your documents are uploaded.
eToro requires a minimum deposit of £160 to start trading with your new account. You can make a deposit using a variety of different methods, including:
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Bank transfer
- Wire transfer (extra charge applies)
If you fund your account with a debit card, credit card or e-wallet, your funds will be available for trading instantly.
Once your account is funded, you’re ready to buy AstraZeneca shares. From your account dashboard, enter ‘AstraZeneca’ into the search box at the top of the page. When the company appears in the drop-down menu, click on it.
On the AstraZeneca shares page that appears, click ‘Trade’ to open an order form.
The form now in front of you is used to submit your order for AstraZeneca shares to eToro. You can buy or sell AstraZeneca shares in any amount as long as your transaction involves a minimum of £40. If you want to set a stop loss or take profit level for your trade, you can also do that using the order form. You also get to choose whether or not you want to apply leverage to your trade.
When your order form is ready, click ‘Open Trade’ to buy AstraZeneca shares.
AstraZeneca shares have been the darling of traders, investors, and analysts alike. This pharmaceutical giant has seen massive share price appreciation in recent years while offering an attractive dividend yield of 2.5%.
AstraZeneca has been in the news most recently for its COVID-19 vaccine, but the company’s bread and butter lies in cancer treatments and other high-revenue drugs. With more than 160 candidate drugs in various stages of development, AstraZeneca’s strength shows no signs of waning.
Ready to buy AstraZenece shares? Invest in stocks today by signing up for an account with eToro – just click the link below to get started.
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Interested in investing in other pharmaceutical companies that are involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine? Check out the list below.
Is AstraZeneca only traded on the London Stock Exchange?
AstraZeneca has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and it is a member of the FTSE 100 index. In addition, this company has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Most UK stock brokers, including eToro, offer share trading on AZN through the London Stock Exchange.
Can I collect dividends when trading CFDs?
Yes, you are eligible to earn dividends when you hold AstraZeneca share CFDs. You must hold the CFDs as of the ex-dividend date each quarter. Note that if you short sell CFDs, you must pay the dividend each quarter.
Does AstraZeneca operate in global markets?
AstraZeneca sells drugs and treatments to healthcare systems around the world. The US and Europe make up much of the company’s business, but around 36% of sales are in emerging markets. AstraZeneca has been steadily growing its footprint in emerging markets as well.
How much does AstraZeneca spend on research?
AstraZeneca spent nearly £5 billion on research and development in 2019. The amount spent on research is equivalent to 25% of the company’s annual revenue.
Will AstraZeneca’s dividend grow over time?
Dividends are never guaranteed and can change at any time. That said, AstraZeneca has consistently increased its dividend over the past several years (even as share price appreciation has pushed the yield down). The company has not announced any dividend increase for 2020.