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Health Stocks in Motion

Shares of Nabi Biopharmaceuticals (NABI) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, tumbling nearly 72% after the biotechnology company halted development of its staph infection vaccines.

The company decided to discontinue developing the vaccines after its StaphVax product failed to meet the primary endpoint of a Phase III trial. The study found no reduction in S. aureus types 5 and 8 infections in the StaphVax group of patients as compared to a placebo group. "We are obviously surprised and very disappointed with the results of the StaphVax confirmatory Phase III trial," the company said.

In addition to halting further development of StaphVax and withdrawing its application to market StaphVax in the European Union, Nabi said it would also halt development of Altastaph, the company's investigational product for the prevention and treatment of S. aureus infections. Shares were trading down $9.25 to $3.60.

Allergan (AGN) rose 8% after the eye-care products company posted better-than-expected third-quarter results. The company earned $150.5 million, or $1.12 a share, on sales of $606.1 million. Excluding items, Allergan have earned $112.1 million, or 83 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings, before items, of 79 cents a share, and sales of $569.6 million. A year earlier, Allergan earned $92 million, or 69 cents a share, on sales of $510.8 million. Excluding items, the company would have earned $89 million, or 67 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Looking ahead, Allergan forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 88 cents to 89 cents a share, in line with analysts' forecast of 89 cents. The company sees sales of $565 million to $580 million, bracketing analysts' mean estimate of $570 million. Shares recently were up $6.74 to $96.04.

Shares of Health Net (HNT) rose 1% after the company posted third-quarter results that topped forecasts. The managed-health care company earned $78.2 million, or 67 cents a share, on sales of $3.06 billion. Analysts projected earnings of 64 cents a share, with sales of $3.04 billion. A year earlier, Health Net earned $71.9 million, or 64 cents a share, on sales of $2.94 billion.

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