How To Buy AstraZeneca Stock - As Pharma Stocks Climb Should This Be in Your Portfolio?

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The pandemic has had an impact on every country across the globe. It has changed the way we work, live, and travel. The only way to handle the pandemic is a vaccine and the global demand for vaccines throws light on the fact that the Covid-19 vaccine is effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
It is hard to imagine a world without pharmaceutical companies and most of us have realized its importance only after the pandemic. One of the major pharmaceutical companies that successfully developed a Covid-19 vaccine is AstraZeneca. While Moderna and Pfizer may be grabbing headlines, those who had never heard of AstraZeneca are well aware now, and it is one of the best stocks of 2021.
With a strong global presence, the pharmaceutical company has made some big moves in the industry and generated massive revenue through the coronavirus vaccine. The company went public many years back and if you missed your chance to invest in AstraZeneca stock, here’s how you can buy it today. Let us take you through the three steps you must take.

Step 1: Finding a broker that offers AstraZeneca stock

AstraZeneca PLC is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company and you can buy the stock from the stock market. The best way to invest in stocks is through a brokerage account. When it comes to brokerages, there are many options for you to choose from.
Different brokers in the industry offer different types of services and they have varying commissions, fees, and account minimum. It is recommended to compare the platforms and then commit to one. Not all brokers allow the purchase of fractional shares so if you are keen on buying fractional shares, you need to choose a brokerage that offers the service. Let us consider the three trading platforms you should compare before buying AZN stock.

Robinhood

You can easily purchase AstraZeneca stock with Robinhood. It is one of the most easy-to-use brokerages and it is free to sign up. Robinhood comes with several features and has a monthly fee of $5. This fee will give access to Morningstar research to assist you with stock picking. The biggest advantage of using Robinhood is the fractional shares you can buy and it offers crypto stocks. Hence, you do not have to arrange for a large number of funds to buy a stock. The stock purchase is commission-free and you can engage in pre-market and after-hours trading. Robinhood has no minimum balance requirement.

Pros and cons

Pros
  • Commission-free purchase
  • No minimum deposit required
  • Offers fractional shares
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Offers cryptocurrencies
Cons
  • No bonds or mutual funds

M1 Finance

M1 Finance is ideal for experienced investors. It allows you to customize the portfolio and create a diversified allocation in ETFs, stocks, and bonds. It is not an ideal platform if you do not want to hold the shares for the long term. It also does not support you in making financial decisions so if you are a newbie, this might not be the right platform. It offers individual accounts, joint taxable accounts, trusts, and retirement accounts. There is a minimum of $100 required for taxable accounts and $500 for retirement accounts. It charges no commission on purchases. You can opt for a premium version by paying an annual fee of $125 and get a custodial account and set up auto trading. M1 Finance offers fractional shares.

Pros and cons

Pros
  • Fractional shares
  • Automatic rebalancing
  • Stocks and EFTs available
Cons
  • Not good for beginners
  • $100 minimum for taxable accounts

Step 2: Research AstraZeneca shares

AstraZeneca is a British Swedish company and has its headquarters in Cambridge, England. The company has a wide portfolio for major diseases that include infection, inflammation, cardiovascular, oncology, neuroscience, gastrointestinal, and respiratory. The company is known for developing the COVID vaccine.
It was founded in 1999 after the merger of Swedish Astra and the British group Zeneca. Over time, the company became the world’s largest pharma company and has made several acquisitions.
In 2013, the company announced a big corporate restructuring which included the closure of the research and development activities at Loughborough in the UK and Cheshire as well as in Sweden. It invested $500 million in the construction of a research and development facility in Cambridge, Maryland, and Gaithersburg.
AstraZeneca has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on Nasdaq New York, Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, Bombay Stock Exchange, and National Stock Exchange of India. It is listed with ticker AZN and its debut as a public company was made on April 6, 1999.
The IPO price was GBP 29.46 and the stock has never looked back since then. It was trading as low as $4.69 in 1993 and hit $10 in 1996. The stock price was as high as $64 in July 2020 and is currently exchanging hands at $58. Despite the vaccine success, the stock has not surged as expected, which is an opportunity to add it to your portfolio.

AstraZeneca price history

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You may have missed a chance to invest in the AstraZeneca IPO. It is the best opportunity to make the most of the growth of the company. However, now is not too late either. The company has grown over the years and is making news for the vaccine's success. If you had invested $1,000 in the IPO in 1993, you would have received 24 shares. The company split stock twice, in 1998 and 2015. After the stock split, you would have 146 shares worth $8,468 today. It is almost 8 times the amount invested.

AstraZeneca dividend information

AstraZeneca has paid cash dividends semi-annually since 1999. It has a dividend yield of 3.30%. If you had invested the dividends, it would have grown significantly. The company believes in sharing the profits with shareholders and has a strong dividend history. Investors should continue to expect semi-annual dividend payouts in the coming years.

Best features of AstraZeneca stock

Cashing in on the covid vaccine. Before the pandemic hit us, many pharmaceutical companies had been easing away from the vaccine business for years. Some of the major vaccine suppliers in America were a few, limited large companies. Vaccines are used once or twice as compared to medication that people need to take regularly. But the pandemic changed everything. 2019 was a year when pharma companies set out on the search for a vaccine that could stop the spread of Covid-19 and a few did manage to hit the jackpot. AstraZeneca is one of the big Pharma companies that has been around for two decades but it became a globally recognized name with the Covid vaccine. The company generated $275 million in sales from the vaccine in the first quarter and it represents only 4% of the total revenue of the company.
Impressive portfolio. There was a time when the company was struggling with competition and patent issues but it is firing on all cylinders today. Even if we keep the Covid vaccine aside, the company has a very strong oncology portfolio. It has three cancer blockbusters that have been showing a double-digit percentage growth. Besides oncology, the company will also benefit from the acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals which is a biotech company that focuses on rare diseases. The therapies developed by Alexion rarely have competitors and it has a very strong cash flow.
The company is working on some of the major areas of cancer medicine and its top cancer drug, Tagrisso saw a rise of 17% in sales in the first quarter of 2021. It generated sales of $1.15 billion and is a crown jewel for the company. The sales of Tagrisso have been rising tremendously over the years and have doubled in the last few years. AstraZeneca also has other cancer medicines that have seen a rise in sales. It also has a diabetes treatment drug Farxiga which raked in $625 million in Q1 2021. There are several diabetic treatments available in the market but Farxiga is one of the top three drugs used.
Dividend aristocrat. AstraZeneca has a market cap of $147 million and net sales of $27 billion. It is an authorized vaccine manufacturer and has become a global leader in the healthcare sector. The company has strong growth prospects and is known for paying regular dividends. The company has paid regular cash dividends since 1999. It is an ideal stock for those who enjoy passive income in the form of dividends.
Robust pipeline of drugs. The company’s growth and success are not limited to the Covid vaccine bonanza. It has a concentrated revenue stream with several drugs that contribute to the revenue. The company has a record of introducing breakthrough medicine that improves the quality of life. The FDA has given the asthma treatment drug, a breakthrough therapy status. This will allow the company and its partner, Amgen to develop the drug quickly. This drug, tezepelumab is injected and will help treat severe asthma.
The company has many new drugs in line that can boost revenue and growth prospects. It has a robust pipeline with drugs for lung cancer and ovarian cancer. The new drugs that will drive the company’s revenue higher include renal, cardiovascular, and metabolism drugs.
Besides the headwinds from the vaccine, the company has a $204 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to study the effects of a minimum of 100,000 doses of AZD7442. It is a product that helps prevent or treat the clinical effects of Covid.
The purchase orders can be placed in two ways - limit price and market price. In case of a limit price, you get to set the price at which you want to buy or sell the stock. If the stock hits the limit set by you, the transaction will be carried out. If not, the transaction will not take place. When you choose the market price, the purchase or sale will happen at the price prevailing in the stock exchange.

Step 3: Open a brokerage account & buy AstraZeneca shares

Now that you are ready to open an account and get into investing in AstraZeneca stock, you can start with Robinhood. Head to the homepage of Robinhood and click on Sign Up.
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Now click on “Claim your free stock now”. Once you click here, you need to provide your details which include your name, email, and a password to create an account. Click on continue.
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Here you will have to enter the citizenship status, birthdate, and social security number.
At the next step, answer a few questions about your experience in investing. Additionally, you will have to provide information about your employment and whether or not you are a family member or a 10% shareholder of a traded company.
Lastly, you need to set up and fund the account. You can immediately link the bank account and fund it or do it later. After you fund the account, you can make your share purchase.
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FAQs

How much were AstraZeneca shares when the company first went public?
AstraZeneca shares were priced at GBP 29.46 in the IPO in 1993.
How much does it cost to buy AstraZeneca shares today?
It costs $58 to buy AstraZeneca stock today.
Does AstraZeneca pay dividends?
AstraZeneca pays cash dividends semi-annually.
What is the minimum number of AstraZeneca shares that I can buy?
You can buy AstraZeneca shares for as little as $1 in the form of fractional shares but it depends on the brokerage you choose.

The Bottom Line

Whether you want to buy a fractional share or a full share, consider the fundamentals of the company and then make a decision. AstraZeneca is riding on the success of the Covid-19 vaccine and it is expected that the share price will increase if the demand for the vaccine continues to grow. However, the covid vaccine is not the only revenue generator for the company, it has several medical drugs in line that contribute to the gross profit and revenue. AstraZeneca is a fairly secure and safe investment.

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Disclaimer: Joy Wallet is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. Its articles, interactive tools and other content are provided to you for free, as self-help tools and for informational purposes only. They are not intended to provide investment advice. Joy Wallet does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information in regard to your individual circumstances. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific investment issues. Featured estimates are based on past market performance, and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market. We are compensated by our partners, which may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on our site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice. Our editorials are grounded on independent research. All figures are provided by the cited source or the service provider. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.
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