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AstraZeneca 2020 forecasts hit by coronavirus, shares dive

(Reuters) - British drugmaker AstraZeneca <AZN.L> forecast revenue growth for this year of around 10% on Friday, as it factored in a hit from the coronavirus outbreak in China and fell short of analysts' expectations for fourth-quarter results. Shares of the company, moving into a third year of growth after changes driven by Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot, sank 5% on Britain's blue-chip index <.FTSE> as it warned that the hit from the outbreak could last "a few months". China was again a central driver for the company in the final quarter of 2019, with sales in the country growing 28% to $1.19 billion (£912.4 million), making up 19% of total product sales in the period. The 2020 forecast was broadly in line with expectations, although some analysts have said anything less than double-digit sales growth would be a disappointment this year.

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