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8 Health Care Buys Ahead of Earnings

2. Covance (CVD) is a drug development services company for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. It also provides laboratory-testing services to the chemical, agrochemical and food industries. Covance will announce third-quarter results on Nov. 2.

For the third quarter of 2011, analysts polled by Bloomberg expect net income of $43.21 million on sales of $526.8 million, compared to a net loss of $32.64 million recorded on $513.3 million sales for the same period in 2010. Earnings per share are forecast at 71 cents for the quarter, a 41% increase from 50 cents in 2010 third quarter.

Gross margin is expected at 31.24%, compared to 27.14% in the earlier-year period. Return on equity is seen increasing to 10.75% from 5.67% for the same period, while return on assets is seen rising to 8.10% from $4.13% earlier.

Of the 20 analysts covering the stock, 55% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain almost 22.6% to $64.39 from current levels over the next 12 months.

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