Health Stocks in Motion

Immucor bleeds after its third-quarter results fall short and the company slashes its outlook.
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Shares of

Immucor

(BLUDE)

were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Friday, slumping 16% after the company posted disappointing first-quarter results and slashed it full-year outlook.

Immucor, which sells reagents and systems used to identify the properties of blood prior to a transfusion, earned $8 million, or 17 cents a share, for the first quarter ended Aug. 31. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 20 cents a share. Sales were $42.4 million, missing analysts' estimate of $43.5 million. A year earlier, the company posted earnings of $4.9 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $32.1 million.

Immucor now sees fiscal 2006 earnings of $36.3 million to $40.6 million, or 76 cents to 85 cents a share. Previously, the company expected earnings of $45.2 million to $50 million, or 95 cents to $1.05 a share. The company cut its sales forecast to $180 million to $190 million from $190 million to $204 million. The company said that 4 cents to 5 cents of the earnings reduction is due to its planned closure of a Houston plant. Analysts expected earnings of 98 cents a share on sales of $196.2 million.

"The primary reasons for the reduction in expected revenue are the lack of improvement in the length of time our customers are taking to validate their instruments and the length of time it has taken to see a significant impact from our price differentiation strategy," Immucor said. Shares were trading down $4.33 to $22.94.

VNUS Medical Technologies

(VNUS)

dropped 19% after the medical device maker posted mixed third-quarter results and issued a weak fourth-quarter guidance. The company earned $1.7 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $12.1 million. Analysts expected earnings of 5 cents a share and sales of $13 million. A year earlier, the company earned $995,000, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $10.1 million. VNUS blamed the sales drop on slower-than-expected catheter sales in July. Earnings, meanwhile, topped expectations because the company was able to better manage its operating expenses, VNUS said.

VNUS sees fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents to 6 cents a share, below analysts' estimates of 10 cents. The company projects sales of $12 million to $12.4 million, shy of Wall Street's forecast of $14.8 million. Shares were trading down $2.10 to $9.10.

Shares of

Health Net

(HNT)

fell slightly Friday, even though the company raised its 2006 earnings outlook. The managed-health care company now sees earnings of $2.90 to $3.10 a share, up from its earlier forecast of $2.90 a share, which was given less than two weeks ago. The guidance includes stock options expenses of 10 cents to 12 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of $2.92 a share. Shares were trading down 42 cents to $49.36.

Biovail

(BVF)

rose 3% after the drugmaker posted better-than-expected third-quarter results and lifted its full-year guidance. The company earned $101.7 million, or 64 cents a share, on sales of $258.1 million. Excluding items, the company earned $108.9 million, or 69 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 60 cents a share and sales of $241.8 million. Last year's third-quarter earnings totaled $49.6 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $213.6 million.

Biovail now sees full-year earnings of $1.80 to $1.85 a share, up from an earlier view of $1.75 to $1.80 a share. Analysts project earnings of $1.75 a share. The company's shares were trading up 89 cents to $26.59.

Shares of

ImClone Systems

(IMCL)

fell 2% after the drug company announced the resignation of its chief executive. Daniel Lynch resigned by "mutual agreement" with the company's board of directors, ImClone said. Lynch officially was named ImClone's CEO in February 2004; before then he had served as interim chief executive since April 2003. Philip Frost, the company's chief scientific officer, will serve as CEO on an interim basis while the company looks for a permanent replacement. Shares were trading down 65 cents to $31.91.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 16 cents to $22.37;

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

, down 1 cent to $19.73;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, down 19 cents to $29.84;

Novavax

(NVAX) - Get Report

, up 2 cents to $3.01;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, down 29 cents to $81.52;

Eyetech Pharmaceuticals

(EYET)

, down 50 cents to $16.50;

OSI Pharmaceuticals

(OSIP)

, down 85 cents to $26.50;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, down 40 cents to $61.01; and

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

, up 18 cents to $59.47.