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Updated from 2:53 p.m. EST

Shares of

Eon Labs

( ELAB) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, rising 9.2% after the company agreed to be acquired by

Novartis AG

(NVS) - Get Novartis AG Report

for $31 a share.

Under the terms of the deal, Novartis will acquire 60 million shares from Santo Holding, Eon's controlling shareholder, for $1.7 billion in cash. A subsidiary of Novartis will initiate a tender offer at $31 a share for the remaining shares that Santo doesn't own. In connection with the Eon acquisition, Novartis also announced that it acquired privately held

Hexal

for about $5.6 billion in cash. Both Eon and Hexal will be merged with Novartis' Sandoz unit, creating a company that would have pro forma 2004 sales of about $5.1 billion and a portfolio of more than 600 drugs, and employ more than 20,000 workers. Shares of Eon traded up $2.56 to $30.48.

Coventry Health Care

( CVH) rose 2% after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that were ahead of expectations and forecast first-quarter results that were better than expected. The company earned $91.8 million, or $1.01 a share during the fourth quarter, on sales of $1.38 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 96 cents a share on sales of $1.38 billion. Looking ahead, Coventry forecast first-quarter earnings of $1.05 to $1.07 a share on sales of $1.56 billion to $1.59 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1 a share on sales of $1.54 billion. Shares traded up $1.20 to $60.01.

Despite posting fourth-quarter results that were ahead of expectations,

United Therapeutics

(UTHR) - Get United Therapeutics Corporation Report

fell 3.9% Tuesday. The biotechnology company earned $6.9 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $21.6 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 21 cents a share on sales of $20.5 million. A year ago the company posted a loss of $3.2 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $13.6 million. United Therapeutics ended the year with $139.1 million in cash and investments and no debt. Shares traded down $1.74 to $43.13.

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Other health care movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report

, down 21 cents to $26.59;

Merck

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

, down $1.40 to $31.21;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report

, unchanged at $24.36;

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

(TEVA) - Get Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Report

, up 10 cents to $27.50;

Dendreon

(DNDN)

, down 72 cents to $6.84; and

Schering-Plough

( SGP), down 38 cents to $18.93.