Updated from 3:16 p.m. ESTShares of Sepracor tacked on another 1.7% Friday, a day after Bloomberg said the drugmaker hired Morgan Stanley to explore strategic options, which could include a sale of the company. On Thursday shares of Sepracor jumped more than 8%, or $4.95 a share, on the news report. On Friday, Smith Barney Citigroup upped its rating on the stock to hold from sell, citing a possible sale of the company. The firm also raised its price target on Sepracor to $70 a share, up from $42. Shares traded up $1.10 to $64.70. Caliper Life Sciences traded actively after the company posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss and warned that first-quarter sales would fall below expectations. Excluding items, the company posted a loss of 11 cents a share on sales of $24.1 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a loss of 16 cents a share on sales of $24.2 million. Looking ahead, Caliper forecast first-quarter sales of $17 million to $19 million, below the $20.9 million that analysts had been expecting. Shares traded up 12 cents to $7.28 on more than four times its daily average volume. Shares of Triad Hospitals ( TRI - Get Report) rose modestly after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations by a penny and reaffirmed its 2005 earnings and sales forecasts. The company posted operating income of 66 cents a share on sales of $1.14 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 65 cents a share on sales of $1.15 billion. Looking ahead, Triad forecast 2005 earnings of $2.69 to $2.79 a share on sales of $4.6 billion to $4.9 billion. Analysts are expecting earnings of $2.76 a share on sales of $4.84 billion. Shares traded up 10 cents to $42.99. Neose Technologies ( NTEC) fell 10.7% on heavy volume after the company said it plans to sell 7 million shares of stock for $4 apiece, raising $28 million. The offering price represents a 16% discount to Thursday's closing price of $4.76. UBS Investment Bank led the underwriting syndicate. Shares traded down 51 cents to $4.25 on volume of 2.9 million shares, or about 40 times its average daily volume.
Shares of Discovery Laboratories ( DSCO) fell 5.7% after the company said it plans to sell 4.6 million shares for about $26.5 million, or about $5.76 a share. The price represents an 11% discount to Thursday's closing price of $6.49. SG Cowen acted as exclusive placement agent for the transaction, the company said. Earlier this week, shares of Discovery Labs climbed after the company said the Food and Drug Administration tentatively approved its Surfaxin drug for use in preventing respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. Discovery Labs said that it expects to launch the drug, pending final FDA approval, during the fourth quarter of 2005 or the first quarter of 2006. On Friday, shares traded down 37 cents to $6.12. Other health care movers included Pfizer ( PFE - Get Report), up $1.74 to $26.80; Merck ( MRK - Get Report), up $3.76 to $32.61; Amgen ( AMGN), down 35 cents to $62; Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), up 44 cents to $24.36; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up 8 cents to $65.43; Schering-Plough , up 21 cents to $19.28; and Aastrom Biosciences ( ASTM), down 9 cents to $3.05.