Health Stocks in Motion

Shares of Amerigroup ( AGP) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, falling 6% after the company warned that second-quarter earnings would fall short of Wall Street expectations.

The managed health care provider expects second-quarter earnings of 42 cents to 43 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of 48 cents a share. Among other things, the company blamed cost pressure in New Jersey and Florida for the shortfall. Amerigroup also suffered from increased medical utilization in Fort Worth, Texas.

Looking ahead, Amerigroup now expects 2005 earnings of $1.73 to $1.78 a share, down from previous guidance of $1.90 to $1.98 a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.94 a share. Shares were trading down $2.84 to $41.68.

Sepracor ( SEPR) traded actively after the company reported a second-quarter loss that was narrower than expected. The pharmaceutical company posted a loss of $7.4 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $185.1 million. Analysts were expecting a much larger loss of 68 cents a share on lower sales of $118.6 million. A year ago, the company reported a loss of $81.1 million, or 93 cents a share, on sales of $70 million. Shares were trading down 63 cents to $58.99 on volume of 4.6 million shares, or nearly three times its normal daily average.

Shares of ICU Medical ( ICUI) rose 7% after the medical device maker posted second-quarter earnings that were better than expected. The company earned $4.7 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $40.7 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 22 cents a share. A year ago, the company earned $3.4 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $21.7 million. Second-quarter results were fueled by the company's CLAVE product line and by strong sales of safe medical connectors and custom intravenous systems to Hospira ( HSP) and other sales channels, it said. Looking ahead, the company now expects 2005 earnings of $1.06 to $1.08 a share on sales of $140 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 98 cents a share. Shares were trading up $2.26 to $34.15.

Arena Pharmaceuticals ( ARNA) rose slightly after the company posted a narrower-than-expected second-quarter loss and lifted its 2005 sales guidance. The biopharmaceutical company reported a loss of $16.3 million, or 46 cents a share, on sales of $5.5 million. Analysts were expecting a loss of 48 cents a share on sales of $5.47 million. A year ago, the company posted a loss of $17 million, or 67 cents a share, on sales of $1.4 million. Looking ahead, Arena now expects 2005 sales of $22 million, up from previous guidance of $20 million. Revised guidance reflects reimbursement for additional research and patent activities performed by the company in support of its existing collaborations, it said. Analysts are expecting sales of $23.6 million. Shares were trading up 1 cent to $8.33.

Shares of Nature's Sunshine Products ( NATR) fell 6% after the vitamin maker posted second-quarter earnings that matched expectations. The company earned $4.1 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $87 million. A year ago, the company earned $4.8 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $80.5 million. The year-over-year decline in earnings, the company said, was due to a large tax credit that was realized during last year's second quarter. Shares were trading down $1.27 to $19.58.

Other health-care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 6 cents to $27.19; Elan ( ELN), up 16 cents to $7.95; Amgen ( AMGN), down 10 cents to $70.40; Eyetech Pharmaceuticals ( EYET), down 33 cents to $11.40; StemCells ( STEM), down 34 cents to $5.56; Millennium Pharmaceuticals ( MLNM), down 14 cents to $9.86; IMS Health ( RX), up 1 cent to $27.04; UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), down 46 cents to $50.35; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up 16 cents to $64.76; and Schering-Plough ( SGP), down 4 cents to $20.01.

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