How to Buy AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) Stock

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 12, 2021
Last update: 7:51PM (Delayed 15-Minutes)
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Vol / Avg.7.388M / 6.408MMkt Cap203.974B
Day Range64.950 - 65.92552 Wk Range60.470 - 76.560

As the world struggles to handle the current COVID-19 pandemic, governments and pharmaceutical manufacturers work together to create a reliable vaccination to counter the virus. International biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC (NASDAQ: AZN) has recently released its own candidate for COVID-19 strains, with trials showing up to 90% efficacy rates.

If you’re a new investor, you may want to add AstraZeneca PLC to your portfolio. Our guide to investing for beginners will help you learn more about how to buy stocks, choose a broker to open an account with, decide how many shares you want to buy and more. Remember, as firms like AZN work on the commercialization of prescription medication, you want to get to know the medical field, too.

How to Buy AstraZeneca PLC Stock Summary:

  • Step 1: Pick a brokerage.
  • Step 2: Decide how many shares you want.
  • Step 3: Choose your order type.
  • Step 4: Execute your trade.

How to Buy AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) Stock

If you’ve bought or sold a share of stock before, you’re likely already familiar with the process you’ll go through when investing in AstraZeneca PLC. If this is your first time investing in the stock market, follow these 4 simple steps to find the best broker for your needs and place your first buy order.  

  1. Pick a brokerage.

    The first step to investing in most types of stocks is to open an account with a broker. A broker is a type of financial service provider authorized to buy and sell shares of stocks and funds on behalf of retail investors. Almost every broker in the United States will provide you with full access to trading on the NASDAQ (the exchange on which AZN is traded) so you can have your pick when it comes to choosing a broker. Some of the questions you might want to ask when you’re narrowing down your list of brokers might include the following:

    1. How much money can I put in my account right now? Is there an account minimum for each option?
    2. What type of trading platform do I prefer to use? Do I need access to a wide range of charting and analysis tools? Would I prefer an account with a simple platform that’s easy to begin with?
    3. How much does each broker I’m considering opening an account with charge in fees? Are fees charged based on the number of orders that I execute or the total value of my trade?
    4. If the broker doesn’t charge commissions, does the broker charge an annual or monthly account maintenance fee?
    5. What method of contacting customer service do I prefer? If I travel frequently or live outside of the United States, do I want to choose a broker that offers 24/7 live customer service?
    6. Do I need to trade on the go? Does a desktop-only platform work for me, or is it very important that I’m able to trade from my phone or tablet?
    7. Do I need access to additional markets through my platform — for example, forex and futures trading? Or am I only interested in investing in stocks and funds?

  2. Decide how many shares you want.

    After you open your brokerage account, take a look at the current share price of AstraZeneca’s stock. Decide how much money you’d like to invest in the company instead of thinking about how many shares you want to buy. It’s sometimes better to invest in dollars rather than in a rounded number of shares because some brokers now allow you to purchase fractional shares of major stocks. 

  3. Choose your order type.

    When you’ve monitored the changes that AZN stock is making on the market and you’ve decided that now is the time to invest, you’ll place your order through your broker’s trading platform. Most brokers offer access to a number of types of buy orders. Some of the most common buy orders your broker might offer access to include:

    Market orders: Market orders are executed at the current market price.
    Limit orders: Limit orders are executed at or below a price that you set when placing the order. For example, you might set a limit order to buy 5 shares of AZN at or below a price of $50 a share.
    Stop order: A stop order is executed if the price of AZN rises above a specific price. For example, you might set a stop order to execute a market buy if AZN rises above the price of $55 a share.
    Trailing stop order: A trailing stop order is a market order that is executed only if the price of AZN rises a specific percentage above its lowest price. You can typically choose to calculate your stop price in terms of percentages (for example, 5% above the lowest price point) or in terms of dollars ($5 above its lowest price).
    Stop-limit order: A stop-limit order combines the characteristics of both a stop order and a limit order. You’ll first choose a “stop” price that starts the order. If the stop price is reached, the order converts to a limit order and begins execution. You’ll also choose a limit price that stops your order. If the limit price is reached, your broker will stop filling your order. 

  4. Execute your trade.

    After you place your order, your broker will fill it according to your instructions. When the order is complete, you’ll see your shares in your brokerage account.  

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AstraZeneca PLC Stock History

AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company active in a variety of areas of medical research and development. AstraZeneca produces medical products for a very wide selection of illnesses and conditions, ranging from cancer to gastrointestinal discomfort, respiratory and immunology treatments, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and/or cardiovascular, renal and metabolic treatments. Health care providers rely on these medications across the country, and the firm even rolled out an MRNA vaccine meant to fight the spread of COVID-19.

AstraZeneca shows up in recent headlines thanks to its proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company donated 9 million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world in March of 2020. In April of 2020, the company began working in conjunction with British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and the University of Cambridge to develop a laboratory capable of conducting up to 30,000 COVID-19 tests per day. Shortly afterward, the company announced that it was also developing a vaccination using the adenovirus vector method. Thanks to proactive steps combatting the virus on an international scale, AstraZeneca’s stock price has remained consistent through 2020 and the early months of 2021. 

Screenshot from Benzinga Pro on 2/10/2021

AstraZeneca has taken a proactive and holistic approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have helped keep its stock price consistent. 

Pros to Buying AstraZeneca PLC Stock

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains at the forefront of every investor and government’s list of concerns, AstraZeneca PLC was one of the first companies to produce a viable COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency usage. The company agreed to supply the government of the United Kingdom with millions of doses in the first quarter of 2021 with the potential to increase production to up to 100 million doses in total. The company also plans to distribute its vaccination to underdeveloped countries at a reduced cost.

Both investor and public sentiment for the vaccination remained high at the conclusion of December 2020, with the public offering improving over time into 2021 and 2022. While the economy is struggling going into 2023, the pharmaceutical sector can shift at any time, especially if firms like AZN release newer, more popular products (or their older medications become that much more useful.)

Cons to Buying AstraZeneca PLC Stock

Though AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate has shown up to 90% efficacy rates for the first identified strain of COVID-19, it has proven to be significantly less effective against new variants of the disease. South African officials recently halted its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after it proved to be ineffective at preventing mild to moderate cases of a new COVID-19 variant mutation present throughout the country. As more mutations come to the forefront of COVID-19 control, it’s possible that AstraZeneca’s adenovirus vector vaccines may prove to be less effective than competitors using RNA vaccines.

AstraZeneca is also not the only company producing a COVID-19 vaccine. Competitors like Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccinations have shown similar or higher efficacy rates and have already begun distribution in the United States and around the globe. It’s possible that AstraZeneca’s stock is currently overvalued as biotech stocks producing positive COVID-19 results draw disproportionate investor interest. 

Manage Your Investments

Speculating on the future of companies and projects can be exciting. However, it’s important to remember that no share of stock is ever guaranteed to increase in value. Never invest more money than you can afford to lose in a single company. 

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.