Health Stocks in Motion

DaVita rises on strong quarter and higher guidance.
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Updated from 2:34 p.m. EDT

Shares of

Ligand Pharmaceuticals

(LGND) - Get Report

were among the worst-performing health and pharmaceutical stocks Tuesday after the company reported a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss, trimmed its full-year outlook and announced the resignation of its auditor.

The San Diego-based pharmaceutical company posted a second-quarter loss of 19 cents a share on sales of $40.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected it to report a loss of 6 cents a share on sales of $49.9 million. Looking ahead, the company said that it now expects to earn 12 cents to 17 cents a share on sales of $235 million to $255 million. Previously, it guided analysts to expect earnings of 12 cents to 19 cents a share on sales of $240 million to $265 million.

In addition to the weak second-quarter results and scaled-back full-year outlook, Ligand separately announced that Deloitte & Touche resigned as its auditor, effective at the end of the second quarter. There were no disagreements on any matter of accounting principles or practices, it said. Shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals traded down $5.41, or 39.8%, to $8.18.

Tenet Healthcare

(THC) - Get Report

fell after it reported weak second-quarter earnings and announced that its CFO resigned. Excluding items, the health care company posted a

second-quarter loss of 6 cents a share on sales of $2.57 billion. Analysts had expected it to post a loss of 1 cent a share on sales of $2.61 billion. Tenet also announced that Stephen Farber resigned his CFO post after just 20 months on the job. In a statement, Farber said he plans on returning to Wall Street, where he previously toiled as an investment banker. Shares of Tenet Healthcare traded down 37 cents, or 3.3%, to $10.81.

Shares of

DaVita

(DVA) - Get Report

fell after the company reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings and trimmed its 2005 earnings guidance. The kidney-dialysis services company earned 50 cents a share during the second quarter on sales of $551.6 million. Analysts had expected it to earn 51 cents a share on sales of $551.1 million. Looking ahead, it said that recently proposed changes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have the "potential to have a material negative impact" on DaVita's operating income. As a result, it now expects 2005 operating income to be flat to 6% higher than 2004 results. Shares of DaVita traded down $2.48, or 8.3%, to $27.52.

Amedisys

(AMED) - Get Report

rose after it reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales, and guided above analysts' full-year expectations. The home-health nursing company earned 39 cents a share during the second quarter on sales of $56.9 million. Analysts had expected it to earn 32 cents a share on sales of $52 million. For the full year, it now expects earnings of $1.43 to $1.49 on sales that will exceed $215 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of $1.34 on sales of $207.4 million. Shares of Amedisys traded up $2.15, or 7.9%, to $29.51.

Shares of

United Therapeutics

(UTHR) - Get Report

rose after the company reported its first-ever profit and better-than-expected second-quarter sales. The biotechnology company earned 19 cents a share on sales of $18.3 million. Analysts had expected break-even earnings on sales of $16.8 million. A year ago, it posted a loss of 11 cents a share on sales of $14 million. Shares of United Therapeutics traded up $4.01, or 16.7%, to $28.05.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 25 cents to $32.45;

Teva Pharmaceutical

(TEVA) - Get Report

, down 63 cents to $29.02;

Select Medical

(SEM) - Get Report

, up 88 cents to $14;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 4 cents to $56.35; and

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, down 76 cents to $36.68.