Shares of

Possis Medical

( POSS) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, falling 17% after the medical device maker posted fourth-quarter earnings that fell below Wall Street forecasts and offered a first-quarter forecast that fell below expectations.

The company earned $1.2 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $16.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 8 cents a share on sales of $16.1 million. A year ago the company earned $3.6 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $20 million.

Looking ahead, Possis forecast first-quarter earnings of 1 cent to 2 cents a share on sales of $15.9 million to $16.2 million. The forecast includes a stock-based compensation expense of 4 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 10 cents a share on sales of $16.9 million. Shares were trading down $2.33 to $11.06.

Somanetics

(SMTS) - Get Report

fell 7% despite posting better-than-expected third-quarter results and upping its full-year outlook. The maker of surgical devices reported earnings of $994,147, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $5.2 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 5 cents a share on sales of $5.04 million. A year ago the company earned $539,722, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $3.1 million.

Looking ahead, Somanetics now expects 2005 pretax earnings of $4.7 million to $5 million on sales growth of 59% to 63%, or sales of $20 million to $20.5 million. Previously, the company forecast pretax earnings of $3.8 million to $4.1 million on sales growth of 55% to 60%, or sales of $19.5 million to $20.2 million. Analysts are expecting full-year earnings of 24 cents a share on sales of $19.8 million. Shares, which had climbed by almost 65% since the beginning of the year, were recently trading down $1.82 to $23.56.

Shares of

Genvec

(GNVC)

fell 16% after the company said that it would sell 7.25 million shares at a significant discount to Tuesday's closing price. The sale of the shares, which are being sold at $2 apiece, will result in gross proceeds of $14.5 million. The price represents an 18% discount to Tuesday's closing price of $2.45. Genvec plans to use the proceeds to fund ongoing product development, expansion of manufacturing capabilities and general corporate purposes. Shares were trading down 38 cents to $2.07.

Biomet

( BMET) traded actively after the company posted first-quarter earnings that missed expectations by a penny. The medical device company reported earnings of $100.3 million, or 40 cents a share, on sales of $484.9 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 41 cents a share on sales of $484.6 million. A year ago the company posted adjusted earnings of $91 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $438.2 million.

Looking ahead, Biomet said it is comfortable with forecasts that call for second-quarter earnings of 42 cents to 44 cents a share on sales of $497 million to $506 million. Analysts are expecting earnings of 43 cents a share on sales of $505.8 million. Shares were trading up $1.10 to $36.67.

Shares of

CoTherix

(CTRX)

fell 5% after the company said it plans to sell 4.5 million shares in a follow-on offering. About 500,000 shares will be sold by selling shareholders. The company plans to use proceeds from the sale to fund the continued clinical development and commercialization of Ventavis -- which is used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension -- and for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Shares were recently trading down 70 cents to $13.34.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, down 7 cents to $25.33;

Elan

(ELN)

, down 16 cents to $8.15;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 38 cents to $85.36;

StemCells

(STEM)

, down 28 cents to $5.25;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, up 57 cents to $64.97;

Boston Scientific

(BSX) - Get Report

, down 39 cents to $23.26;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, down 12 cents to $24.43;

Schering-Plough

( SGP), down 18 cents to $20.62; and

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

, up 40 cents to $53.02.