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Thursday's Health Winners & Losers

Shares of Matria Healthcare (MATR) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Thursday, plunging 19% after the health-services company slashed its 2006 earnings and revenue outlook.

The company now sees full-year earnings from continuing operations of $1.10 to $1.17 a share, down from an earlier prediction of $1.35 to $1.50 a share. The guidance excludes stock-based compensation costs of 25 cents to 30 cents a share. The company now sees revenue of $337 million to $341 million, down from an earlier view of $360 million to $370 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project earnings of $1.10 a share, including stock-based compensation costs, and revenue of $360.7 million.

"The market's reaction to our acquisition of CorSolutions appears to be a general delay in awarding new employer business to Matria," the company said. "Because our acquisition of CorSolutions is currently the largest transaction of this nature to occur in the disease management market, consultants and prospective clients are being cautious."

Matria continues to see second-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 23 cents to 26 cents a share, with revenue of $82 million to $84 million. Analysts project earnings of 19 cents a share, including 7 cents in compensation costs, on revenue of $84 million. Shares were trading down $5.20 to $22.16.

Advanced Medical Optics (EYE) rose 2% after the eye-care products company raised its 2006 earnings guidance and backed its revenue forecast. The company now sees earnings of $2.03 to $2.19 a share, up from an earlier view of $2 to $2.15 a share. Analysts project earnings of $2.03 a share. Advanced Medical said the new outlook reflects its stock buyback, a note offering and the purchase of outstanding debt. The company continues to see revenue of $1.02 billion to $1.04 billion, bracketing analysts' mean estimate of $1.03 billion.

For 2007, the company now sees earnings of at least $2.60 a share, up from a previous forecast that called for earnings of at least $2.45 a share. The company predicts revenue of $1.1 billion to $1.12 billion. Analysts project 2007 earnings of $2.50 a share on revenue of $1.1 billion. Shares were trading up 74 cents to $46.59.

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