Shares of HCA ( HCA) were among the most actively traded health-related stocks Thursday, after the company warned that third-quarter results would fall short of Wall Street expectations. The hospital operator expects earnings of 61 cents to 63 cents a share, below the 66 cents a share that analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting. HCA said results were hurt by costs related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The company expects sales of about $6 billion, compared with analysts' forecast for sales of $6.03 billion. Separately, HCA said that it would buy up to 50 million shares of stock as part of a modified Dutch auction. Shares will be bought at prices of no less than $43 a share and no more than $50 a share. The tender offer is expected to begin Friday and expire on Nov. 14. "The tender offer represents an opportunity for the company to deliver value to shareholders who elect to tender their shares, while at the same time increasing the proportional ownership of non-tendering shareholders in HCA," the company said. Shares were recently trading down 72 cents, or 2%, to $45.97. Baxter International ( BAX) fell 3% after the company said the Food and Drug Administration seized almost 7,000 pumps from its Baxter Healthcare subsidiary. The FDA seized 6,000 Baxter-owned Colleague volumetric infusion pumps and about 850 Syndeo PCA syringe pumps. Baxter said it had placed a voluntary hold on shipments of the pumps earlier this year. Baxter also said that the seizure only affects company-owned inventory, not customer-owned pumps that are currently being serviced by Baxter. "We are committed to working with the agency and our customers to resolve these issues as quickly as possible," the company said. Shares were trading down $1.01 to $37.10. Shares of Lifecore Biomedical ( LCBM) rose 3% after the company posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and sales. Earnings, before items, of $1.24 million, or 9 cents a share, from $892,000, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 increased to $13.4 million from $12.3 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 5 cents a share on sales of $12.7 million. "We are satisfied with the first-quarter results. Sales and profits for the quarter exceeded our guidance," the biomaterials and medical device company said.
Looking ahead, Lifecore forecast second-quarter earnings of 8 cents to 10 cents a share on sales of $14.4 million to $14.8 million. Analysts predict earnings of 10 cents a share, with sales of $14.7 million. Shares were trading up 34 cents to $12.64. NDCHealth ( NDC) rose 1% after the company posted first-quarter results that topped forecasts. The health-care technology company reported earnings from continuing operations of $2.6 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $100 million. Excluding certain items, the company would have reported adjusted earnings of 15 cents a share. Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of 9 cents a share and sales of $96.2 million. A year ago, the company posted adjusted earnings of 3 cents a share on sales of $91 million. NDCHealth forecast second-quarter adjusted earnings of 13 cents to 17 cents a share on sales of $98.5 million to $101 million. Analysts' average forecasts call for earnings of 13 cents a share and sales of $102.4 million. Shares were trading up 19 cents to $18.89. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 37 cents to $24.47; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), up $1.80 to $63.60; Amgen ( AMGN), up 57 cents to $75.34; BioCryst Pharmaceuticals ( BCRX), up 16 cents to $13.70; Novavax ( NVAX), up 23 cents to $2.36; Merck ( MRK), up 5 cents to $26.83; Medtronic ( MDT), up $1.13 to $55.92; Schering-Plough ( SGP), up 42 cents to $21.04; and Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), down 9 cents to $22.43.