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Health Stocks in Motion

Shares of LCA-Vision (LCAV) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, rising 12% after the laser vision-correction services company posted third-quarter results that easily beat Wall Street forecasts.

The company earned $7.9 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $47 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call projected earnings of 28 cents a share on sales of $44.9 million. A year earlier, LCA-Vision earned $3.6 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $31.2 million. Procedure volume during the most recent period climbed 47% from a year earlier to 34,187. Operating margins, meanwhile, rose to 25.6% from 17.7% last year.

LCA-Vision raised its 2005 earnings forecast to $1.40 to $1.45 a share from its previous forecast of $1.25 to $1.30 a share. Analysts currently expect earnings of $1.36 a share. The company's shares were trading up $4.80 to $44.63.

MedCath (MDTH) dropped 15% after the company said its chief executive resigned after just three weeks on the job. The company, which operates heart hospitals, also offered a fourth-quarter sales preview that fell below expectations. When the company posts its full financial results in mid-November, it expects to report sales of $184 million to $186 million. Analysts had projected sales of $196.4 million.

Meanwhile, Charlie Slaton, who became CEO on Oct. 1, resigned to pursue other interests, MedCath said. John Casey, who currently serves as chairman, will act as CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Before taking over the CEO position, Slaton had served as president and chief operating officer. Shares recently traded down $3.21 to $18.72.

Henry Schein (HSIC) shares fell 3% after hospital supply company posted third-quarter results that fell short of expectations. The company reported earnings from continuing operations of $36.4 million, or 41 cents a share, below analysts' expectation of 42 cents a share. Sales of $1.13 billion missed Wall Street's forecast of $1.15 billion. In the year-earlier quarter, Henry Schein earned $31.1 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $993.1 million.

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