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Today's Health Winners and Losers

Shares of Thoratec (THOR) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, tumbling 21% after the maker of heart disease products issued a 2006 forecast that fell below Wall Street expectations.

The company's fourth-quarter results topped forecasts. Thoratec earned $4.5 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $54.8 million. Excluding items, the company earned $8.9 million, or 16 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 11 cents a share, before items, on sales of $53 million. A year earlier, Thoratec posted adjusted earnings of $6 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $48.3 million.

For 2006, Thoratec sees earnings of $22 million to $24 million, or 40 cents to 44 cents a share, before items. Analysts project earnings of 48 cents a share. The company forecast sales of $217 million to $225 million, short of Wall Street's target of $227.2 million. Shares were trading down $5.30 to $20.

GeoPharma (GORX) jumped 12% after the pharmaceutical company said it swung to a third-quarter profit and reported an 80% increase in sales. The company earned $365,000, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $12.4 million, for the quarter ended Dec. 31. During the year-ago quarter, the company posted a loss of $960,000, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $6.9 million. Shares were up 56 cents to $5.31.

Candela (CLZR) soared 30% after the medical laser maker posted better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results. Candela's income for the December period rose to $4.5 million, or 19 cents a share, from $1.7 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 12 cents a share. The company's second-quarter revenue jumped 34% to $37.7 million, beating analysts' target of $33.4 million. Candela shares were up $4.38 to $19.35.
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