Friday's Health Winners & Losers
Updated from 2:21 p.m. EDT
Medical-device makers were among the best health care performers of Friday's session.
Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR) continued its recent march higher. Avanir has soared about 265% this week. On Wednesday, the company said it saw positive results from a late-stage clinical trial for diabetic neuropathic pain drug Zenvia. Avanir closed up 50 cents, or 12.8%, to $4.40.Monogram Biosciences (MGRM) was also riding momentum. Thomas Weisel Partners, which began coverage of the stock recently with a rating of market weight, said Monogram's revenue will continue to climb into 2008. The stock, which is up 23% for the week, closed up 23 cents, or 11.1%, to $2.31. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, of which both Avanir and Monogram are components, was higher by only 0.6%. The Amex Pharmaceutical Index was up 0.5%, despite a number of components losing ground. Shares of Merck (MRK) were 2.7% higher after Prudential upped its stock price target for the drugmaker to $55 from $48. But rival Schering-Plough (SGP) slid after both AG Edwards and HSBC Securities downgraded the stock. Schering-Plough was down 29 cents, or 0.9%, to $30.71. Also among losers, Pfizer (PFE) said its most-recent quarter was better than expected, but the drugmaker took down its full-year forecast for profits, the low end of which would be more than 10 cents short of what Wall Street wanted to see. Pfizer was off 0.4% to $26.97. Other pharmaceutical companies were mixed. AstraZeneca (AZN) was up 1.1%, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) was up 0.9%, and Eli Lilly (LLY) gained 0.9%. Elsewhere, Amgen (AMGN) was down 0.6%, Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) was down 0.9%, and Wyeth (WYE) was up 0.3%.
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