Health Stocks in Motion

Decode Genetics falls on auditor's resignation.
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Updated from 3:42 p.m. EDT

Shares of

OSI Systems

(OSIS) - Get Report

were among the worst-performing health and pharmaceutical stocks Friday after the company posted fourth-quarter results that were better than expected but warned that first-quarter earnings and sales would fall below expectations.

Excluding items, the medical-device maker posted fourth-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share on sales of $95.8 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 18 cents a share on sales of $93.1 million. Looking ahead, OSI forecast a first-quarter profit of 9 cents to 11 cents a share on sales of $90 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 19 cents a share on sales of $94.2 million. The company said softness in its opto-electronics business during the first quarter led to the reduced outlook. Shares of OSI Systems traded down $3.73, or 20%, to $14.97.

Decode Genetics

(DCGN)

fell after the company said its auditor resigned effective Aug. 19. The company said there were no disputes between it and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The accounting firm had acted as Decode's auditor since the company's formation in 1996. Shares of Decode Genetics traded down 60 cents, or 9.5%, to $5.70.

Shares of

Biopure

(BPUR)

fell after the company said it plans to raise as much as $18.6 million from the sale of stock and warrants. Biopure intends to sell up to 25 million shares of stock at a discount while issuing warrants to purchase up to 12.5 million shares of stock. Biopure said that it would raise $12 million if all 25 million shares were sold and another $6.6 million if the warrants were exercised. The company expects to complete the sale in September. Shares of Biopure traded down 6 cents, or 9%, to 61 cents.

Chiron

(CHIR) - Get Report

fell after the company said its Fluvirin flu vaccine would be delayed because a small number of lots do not meet product sterility specifications. The contamination is expected to delay the release of Fluvirin until early October. Assuming Fluvirin is released in October, Chiron said that it would post 2004 pro-forma earnings that fall at the low end of its previously disclosed earnings range of $1.80 to $1.90 a share. Analysts are looking for Chiron to post a profit of $1.86 a share. Shares traded down $4.08, or 8.6%, to $43.41.

Shares of

LCA Vision

(LCAV)

rose after an analyst at Raymond James upgraded the company to strong buy from market perform and slapped a $27 price target on its shares. In upgrading the shares, Raymond James cited an attractive valuation and strong earnings momentum and said the market opportunity for LCA Vision is large. Shares of LCA Vision traded up $3.98, or 19.3%, to $24.60.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 34 cents to $32.65;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, up 46 cents to $24.23;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 10 cents to $45.15;

Medtronic

(MDT) - Get Report

, down $1.07 to $50.12; and

Medimmune

(MEDI)

, up 96 cents to $24.49.