Investors looked past the headline numbers and found a lot not to like in Cephalon's ( CEPH) first quarter.

The shares were recently down about 8.5% to $38.66. While the company's earnings of $12.2 million, or 21 cents a share, were slightly better than expected, investors focused on the biotech's product sales, which came in at $137.6 million. That fell short of Cephalon's own $142 million guidance.

"We believe that the moderation of this growth during the first quarter of 2003 was the result of the expansion and complete realignment of our sales force, which pressured prescription trends during the quarter," Cephalon said.

Adding pressure to the shares was a downgrade to equal weight from overweight by Morgan Stanley.