Shares of Apria Healthcare ( AHG) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Friday, falling 16% after the company warned that full-year results would fall below expectations. The company, which provides home respiratory therapy, home infusion therapy and home medical equipment, now expects earnings of between $1.68 and $1.72 a share on sales growth of 2% to 3%. Previously, the company said that it would earn $1.90 to $1.95 a share and post sales growth of 5% to 6%. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of $1.90 a share on sales of $1.52 billion. Apria blamed the shortfall on a third-quarter slowdown in its durable medical equipment, respiratory medications and infusion therapy segments. Shares were trading down $4.90 to $26.66. Natural Health Trends ( BHIP) fell 25% after the company announced that its president, Mark Woodburn, and Terry LaCore, chief executive at the company's Lexxus International subsidiary, would no longer serve as officers of the company. The two were relieved of their duties because of "their failure to cooperate with an ongoing investigation conducted by the company's audit committee," the company said. The men, both of whom resigned from their board positions, will now be employed as global managing directors, with Woodburn serving in operations and LaCore serving in business development. The company also announced the appointment of Robert Hesse as interim chief executive officer. Shares were trading down $3.95 to $11.60. Shares of Wyeth ( WYE) traded actively after the company said its third-quarter earnings would be better than Wall Street expectations. The drugmaker expects earnings in the mid- to upper-70-cent range, which is above the 72 cents a share that analysts had been expecting. A year ago, the company earned 76 cents a share. Looking ahead, Wyeth reiterated its full-year pro forma earnings outlook of $2.80 to $2.90 a share, but said that if current business trends continue, earnings would "likely reach or even exceed the upper end of the range." Analysts had been expecting earnings of $2.92 a share. For 2006, the company expects year-over-year pro forma earnings growth that will be in the high single-digit range. Analysts are looking for 2006 earnings of $3.12 a share. Shares were trading down 33 cents to $45.74.
La Jolla Pharmaceutical ( LJPC) rose 7% after the company said it would sell $66 million in stock and warrants as part of a private placement. The shares are being sold to one individual and five institutions. The closing of the deal is expected to take place in December 2005. Shares were trading up 5 cents to 79 cents. Shares of CoTherix ( CTRX) fell 4% after the company priced 4.5 million shares of stock at $13 apiece in a follow-on offering. Some 500,000 shares are being sold by selling shareholders. The sale price represents a 3% discount to Thursday's closing price of $13.43. CIBC World Markets and UBS Investment Bank led the underwriting syndicate. Shares were trading down 47 cents to $12.96. Other health-care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 19 cents to $24.46; Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), down 16 cents to $23.02; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), down 29 cents to $61.28; Merck ( MRK), up 26 cents to $27.09; Amgen ( AMGN), up 72 cents to $76.68; Human Genome Sciences ( HGSI), down 28 cents to $8.97; Genentech ( DNA), down 11 cents to $81.15; and Schering-Plough ( SGP), down 10 cents to $20.56.