Shares of Bausch & Lomb ( BOL) were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Tuesday, slumping 17% after the eye-care company halted U.S. shipments of its ReNu with MoistureLoc contact-lens solution because of reports of fungal infections in contact lens wearers. The suspension follows the release of a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is reviewing some 109 cases of suspected fungal keratitis, a rare infection that can cause vision loss. "The CDC data released today are both troubling and perplexing, as there is an apparent disproportionate representation of U.S. manufactured ReNu with MoistureLoc in the underlying data," Bausch & Lomb said. Still, the company said that based on extensive testing, analysis and further internal reviews, "the available scientific evidence does not establish any type of ReNu solution as the cause." The CDC has so far only reviewed 30 of the 109 cases, but 28 involved contact-lens wearers, Bausch & Lomb said. Of those 28 cases, 21 reported using ReNu contact-lens care products, while another five reported using a combination of ReNu and products made by other companies. Shares were trading down $9.85 to $47.59. Alcon ( ACL), a rival that could benefit from Bausch & Lomb's troubles, saw its shares rise $3 to $104.22, while shares of another competitor, Advanced Medical Optics ( EYE), jumped $1.95 to $47.42. Immucor ( BLUD) rose 4% after the company announced a 3-for-2 stock split. The company, which sells reagents and systems used to identify the properties of blood, expects to distribute the shares May 15 to shareholders of record on April 24. "We have experienced a consistent rise in the value of our stock as a result of the success of the Galileo and our continuing success in improving both gross and operating margins," the company said. "This stock split is a result of the success of these strategies." The stock split marks the eighth one for the company since going public in 1985. Immucor shares, which have climbed about 35% since the last stock split in 2004, recently were up $1.10 to $31.09.
Shares of Providence Service ( PRSC) rose 6% after the company priced its follow-on stock offering at $32 a share. The company, which provides home- and community-based social services, priced 1.8 million shares, up from its earlier figure of 1.5 million shares. Of the 1.8 million shares, the company offered some 1.73 million, up from the company's earlier projection of 1.43 million. The remaining shares were sold by stockholders. Providence plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes. Shares were up $1.85 to $34.05. Given Imaging ( GIVN) fell 2% after the company, a maker of diagnostics products for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, cut its first-quarter sales outlook and warned that earnings would be below expectations. The company estimates sales of about $20.2 million, down from an earlier view of $21 million to $23 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project sales of $22.8 million. The company also warned that, as a result of the sales shortfall, its earnings would fall short of its previous guidance of 1 cent to 3 cents a share. Analysts project earnings of 2 cents a share. Given Imaging blamed the lower-than-expected sales on a 50% ramp-up in its U.S. sales force and by the accompanying training and adjustments necessary to integrate the increased sales force. For the full year, Given Imaging continues to expect earnings of 35 cents to 45 cents a share and sales of $110 million to $120 million. Analysts project earnings of 34 cents a share on sales of $108.4 million. Shares were down 47 cents to $22.41. Other health care volume movers included Pfizer ( PFE), down 44 cents to $24.21; UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), down $1.15 to $51.28; Boston Scientific ( BSX), down 17 cents to $21.36; Merck ( MRK), down 44 cents to $33.98; Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), down 25 cents to $57.46; Novavax ( NVAX), down 17 cents to $4.97; Generex Biotechnology ( GNBT), down 20 cents to $2.53; Amgen ( AMGN), down 68 to $70.06; Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), down 25 cents to $24.02; and Schering-Plough ( SGP), down 30 cents to $18.40.