Health Stocks in Motion

American Medical Systems climbs after previewing better-than-expected fourth-quarter sales.
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Shares of

American Medical Systems

(AMMD)

were among the best-performing health-related stocks Friday, climbing 10% after the supplier of medical devices offered a fourth-quarter sales preview that topped Wall Street forecasts.

The company reported preliminary sales of $73.1 million, a 22% increase over year-earlier results of $60 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected sales of $70.7 million. For the year, the company reported sales of $262.6 million, up from $208.8 million during 2004. "We are excited to report strong organic growth across both men's and women's pelvic health for the fourth quarter of 2005," the company said. American Medical Systems plans to release full fourth-quarter results on Feb. 16. Shares were trading up $1.80 to $20.05.

Affymetrix

(AFFX)

fell 8% after the biotech company warned that fourth-quarter sales will be below its previous guidance. The company now sees product and product-related sales falling about $15 million below its previous guidance of $120 million. Previously, the company expected total revenue would reach $123 million. Analysts were expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share on sales of $122.8 million. Affymetrix attributed the shortfall to low fourth-quarter instrument sales and delays under a services contract. Shares were down $3.86 to $43.04.

Shares of

Matria Healthcare

(MATR) - Get Report

rose 5% after the company issued 2006 earnings and sales guidance. The health services company expects earnings of $1.35 to $1.56 a share, with sales of $370 million to $380 million. The company's forecast excludes stock-based compensation charges of 25 cents to 30 cents a share. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.40 a share and sales of $416 million. Shares were up $2.02 to $42.15.

Immucor

(BLUD)

rose 3% after the company posted a big jump in second-quarter earnings and sales. The company, which sells reagents and systems used to identify the properties of blood prior to a transfusion, earned $8.1 million, or 17 cents a share, including a charge of about $1.6 million, or 3 cents a share. Immucor posted sales of $44 million for the quarter, which ended Nov. 30. Analysts expected earnings of 19 cents a share and sales of $43.8 million. A year earlier, the company earned $4.2 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $32.6 million.

Looking ahead, Immucor continues to project fiscal 2006 earnings of 76 cents to 85 cents a share and sales of $180 million to $190 million. Analysts, on average, expect earnings of 82 cents a share and sales of $183.8 million. Shares were trading up 66 cents to $26.16.

Other health-care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 25 cents to $24.83;

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

, down 8 cents to $20.54;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 3 cents to $33.21;

Elan

(ELN)

, up 63 cents to $14.73;

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, up 13 cents to $62.45;

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, up 12 cents to $22.75;

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

(TEVA) - Get Report

, up 6 cents to $42.79;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 17 cents to $78.99;

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

, up 82 cents to $62.51; and

Genentech

(DNA)

, down $2.42 to $91.81.