They were thought to offer soothing combination of healthy dividends and steady share price growth: Night Nurse for your portfolio.
But no stock can give you that much reassurance, and the share prices of both have been far more restless than manyinvestors expected.
When Pascal Soriot was appointed chief executive at AstraZeneca in October 2012, heinherited a seriously troubled company.
Its drug pipeline was depleted, key brands had lost exclusivity, cash-strapped governments were cutting health spending, and both revenues and profits were down sharply.
At the time investorscould buy it for less than eight times earnings, on a yield of more than 6%.
Blue Skies Ahead
Soriot deserves massive credit for the subsequent turnaround, which has seen a share price rise 65% since then to todays 4732p.
AstraZeneca hascelebrated three consecutive quarters of revenue growth and is making a big R&D drive into blockbuster drugs, with a fat pipeline of more than 121 products.
UBSpraised its under-appreciated pipeline, picking outeight assets which could deliver blue-sky sales of more than $2bn by 2023.
AstraZenecarecently announced a successful large-scale clinical trial of is Brilinta tablets for patients with a history of heart attack, while the European medicines regulator has approved its application to market 200mg gout tablets, lesinurad.
AstraZeneca isnt as cheap as it was, trading at 14.9 times earnings and yielding 3.9%, but the dividend is nicely covered 1.8 times, and a return on capital employed of more than 33% points to a well-run company.
Glaxos troubles of a more recent vintage, thanks to the China bribery scandal, and falling pharmaceuticals and vaccines sales in the US.
Despite that, I recent singled it out as my favourite FTSE 100 stock for 2015, and ithas rewarded my faith witha positive start.
Itsshare price is up 7.5% so far this year to 1490p, a vote of confidence in its promising drugs pipeline, and the success of its ViiV Healthcare division.
It still has to turn that pipeline into products, although it was boosted by recent news that its Ebola vaccine, which uses a type of chimpanzee cold virus, has been shipped to Liberia for first large-scale trials.
Despite its share price recovery Glaxo doesnt look overpriced at 13.6 times earnings, yet, and the yield is still healthy at 5.3%, covered 1.4 times. That looksparticularly attractive as the firstinterest rate hike slides further out of reach.
Both AstraZeneca and Glaxo have given investors a few sleepless nights in recent years, but their future looks rather more comforting.
There are few things more restful than the prospect of earning a regular dividend from a solid blue-chip stock.
And the good news is that the FTSE 100 is packed with top stockspaying as much as 5% or 6% a year.
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