Health Stocks in Motion - TheStreet

Updated from 2:36 p.m.

Shares of

Inhibitex

(INHX)

were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, falling 7.7% after the biotech company posted a wider fourth-quarter loss on lower sales year over year.

The company posted a loss of $8.2 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $162,500. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 41 cents a share. A year ago the company posted a loss of $7 million on sales of $462,500. The drop in sales related to a one-time Food and Drug Administration grant that Inhibitex received during last year's fourth quarter and a reduction in collaborative research and development support fees.

Looking ahead, the company forecast 2005 sales of $600,000 to $700,000, expenses of $47 million to $49 million and a cash balance at the end of the year of about $35 million to $36 million. Shares traded down 58 cents to $6.99.

Santarus

(SNTS)

fell 7.3% after the company posted fourth-quarter results that were below expectations. The specialty pharmaceutical company posted a loss of $33.3 million, or 92 cents a share, on sales of $1.3 million. Analysts expected a smaller loss of 78 cents a share on sales of $4.2 million. A year ago the company posted a loss of $9 million. Research and development expenses jumped 57% to $7.7 million. Shares traded down 39 cents to $4.98.

Shares of

American HomePatient

(AHOM)

rose 25% after the health care provider posted a big jump in fourth-quarter earnings. The company posted earnings of $8.2 million, or 48 cents a share, on sales of $84.2 million. A year ago it earned $4.7 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $86.9 million. The company attributed the year-over-year improvement in earnings to sharply reduced operating expenses, which fell to $39.4 million from $44.9 million. Shares traded up 85 cents to $4.25.

Other health care movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 62 cents to $26.04;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 8 cents to $32.06;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, up 61 cents to $25.32;

Elan

(ELN)

, down 8 cents to $7.20;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 68 cents to $58.86;

Genentech

(DNA)

, up 57 cents to $58.06;

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

, up 38 cents to $18.32;

Forest Labs

(FRX)

, up $1.15 to $37.90;

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Report

, unchanged at $38.10; and

Aastrom Biosciences

(ASTM)

, down 7 cents to $2.33.