Updated from 3:37 p.m.

Shares of

Digene

( DIGE) were among the best-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, rising 22.6% after the company posted third-quarter earnings that easily surpassed Wall Street expectations.

Excluding items, the maker of diagnostic testing products posted earnings of $1.7 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $29.7 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 4 cents a share on sales of $29 million. A year ago the company posted pro forma earnings of $1.6 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $23.6 million. Third-quarter results were driven by strong human papillomavirus test sales, which jumped 15% sequentially from the second quarter. Looking ahead, Digene forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 2 cents to 5 cents a share on sales of $32 million. Analysts are expecting earnings of 5 cents a share on sales of $32.2 million. Shares traded up $4.30 to $23.29.

Bone Care International

(BCII)

rose 34.8% after the company agreed to be acquired by

Genzyme

( GENZ) for about $600 million, net of the $119 million in cash that Bone Care had as of March 31. The all-cash deal values Bone Care at $33 a share, or 38% higher than Tuesday's closing price of $23.83. Genzyme expects the transaction, which should close during the third quarter of 2005, to be neutral to earnings in 2005 and accretive beyond that. Shares of Bone Care International traded up $8.28 to $32.11, while shares of Genzyme traded up 12 cents to $60.02.

Shares of

Beckman Coulter

( BEC) fell 4.4% after the maker of testing instruments posted first-quarter earnings that fell below expectations and warned that second-quarter earnings would be below expectations as well. The company earned $41.4 million, or 62 cents a share, on sales of $576.1 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 64 cents a share on sales of $574.9 million. A year ago the company earned $35.6 million, or 54 cents a share, on sales of $536.8 million. Looking ahead, Beckman Coulter forecast second-quarter earnings of 88 cents to 95 cents a share on sales growth of 5% to 8%, depending on currency. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 99 cents a share on sales of $647.8 million, or sales growth of 8.5%. Shares traded down $2.93 to $64.11.

Cigna

(CI) - Get Report

rose 2.5% after the health insurer posted first-quarter results that easily topped expectations. The company posted adjusted earnings of $297 million, or $2.24 a share, on sales of $4.35 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.51 a share on sales of $4.02 billion. A year ago the company posted adjusted earnings of $253 million, or $1.79 a share, on sales of $4.72 billion. Looking ahead, Cigna forecast second-quarter earnings of $1.35 to $1.55 a share. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.52 a share on sales of $4.01 billion. Shares traded up $2.32 to $96.77.

Shares of

Renal Care Group

(RCI) - Get Report

rose 16.3% after the company agreed to be acquired by Germany's

Fresenius Medicare Care

(FMS) - Get Report

for about $3.5 billion in cash. The deal values Renal at $48 a share, representing a premium of 22% over Tuesday's closing price of $39.30. Fresenius will also assume about $500 million in debt. The combination of the two companies will create the largest provider of dialysis services in the U.S. Shares of Renal Care traded up $6.40 to $45.70 while Fresenius traded down 54 cents, or 2%, to $26.05.

Other health care volume movers included

Elan

(ELN)

, down 35 cents to $5.94;

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 33 cents to $27.83;

Renovis

( RNVS), up $6.38 to $13.17;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 51 cents to $68.22;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 51 cents to $34.93;

Genentech

( DNA), up $1.16 to $74.40;

Teva

(TEVA) - Get Report

, up 94 cents to $31.73;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 81 cents to $58.96;

Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

, up 23 cents to $39.07; and

Schering-Plough

( SGP), up 11 cents to $20.85.