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Health Stocks in Motion

Advancis falls on a weak fourth quarter.

Updated from 2:05 p.m. EST

Shares of

Advancis Pharmaceuticals

(AVNC)

were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Thursday, falling 12.4% after the company posted weak fourth-quarter sales and warned of a soft 2005.

The pharmaceutical company posted a loss of $5.7 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $7.1 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a loss of 35 cents a share. The one analyst who submitted a sales forecast was looking for $11 million. Looking ahead, Advancis forecast a 2005 loss of $1.50 to $1.75 a share on sales of $15 million to $20 million. Analysts had been expecting a narrower loss of $1.06 a share on sales of $26.6 million. Shares traded down 60 cents to $4.23.

IntraLase

(ILSE)

fell 5% after the company missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations by a wide margin. The laser maker posted a loss of $3.1 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $19.2 million. Analysts were expecting the company to post break-even earnings on sales of $17 million. A year ago the company posted a loss of $2.3 million, or $1.07 a share, on sales of $10.3 million. Looking ahead, IntraLase forecast 2005 earnings of 33 cents to 37 cents a share, which is above expectations, on sales that are expected to exceed $95 million. Analysts are expecting earnings of 29 cents a share on sales of $97 million. Shares traded down $1.10 to $21.12.

Shares of

Palomar Medical Technologies

(PMTI)

rose 7.2% after the developer of light-based systems for cosmetic treatments posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales that were above expectations. Excluding items, the company earned $4.3 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $16.4 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 15 cents a share on sales of $14.3 million. A year ago the company earned $1.1 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $10.1 million. Shares traded up $1.66 to $24.63.

Alcon

(ACL)

rose 9.9% after the maker of eye care products posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales above expectations and said that 2005 earnings and sales would be better than expected. The company earned $187.3 million, or 60 cents a share, on sales of $952.7 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 53 cents a share on sales of $948 million. A year ago the company earned $133.9 million, or 43 cents a share, on sales of $851.7 million. Looking ahead, Alcon forecast 2005 earnings of $3.08 to $3.14 a share on sales of $4.28 billion to $4.38 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $2.92 a share on sales of $4.27 billion. Shares traded up $7.80 to $86.80.

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Shares of

Barrier Therapeutics

(BTRX)

fell 5.9% after the company priced a 4 million-share offering at $19.50 a share. Existing shareholders are selling 2 million shares and the company is selling the rest. Morgan Stanley is leading the underwriting syndicate. Shares traded $1.17 to $18.56.

Other health care movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report

, unchanged at $25.05;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report

, up 6 cents to $28.76;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report

, up 69 cents to $62.78;

Aastrom Biosciences

(ASTM)

, down 9 cents to $3.07;

Genentech

(DNA)

, down 77 cents to $45.73;

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

, up 33 cents to $18.99;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report

, up 9 cents to $23.77;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report

, down 6 cents to $66.13;

StemCells

(STEM)

, down 12 cents to $4.41; and

ViaCell

(VIAC)

, down 28 cents to $8.52.