Health care stocks edged up on analysts' actions and regulatory approvals Tuesday, though disappointing earnings tempered gains. After PDL BioPharma ( PDLI) said Monday that CEO Mark McDade would leave by the end of the year, despite being cleared in an internal investigation, First Albany upgraded the stock to buy from neutral. Shares continued to climb Tuesday, gaining 72 cents, or 3.1%, to $23.64. First Albany also downgraded Adams Respiratory Therapeutics ( ARXT) to buy from strong buy, and upped its price target for Myriad Genetics ( MYGN) to $49 from $44. Adams reported a loss of $1 million, or 3 cents a share, compared to a profit of $6.4 million, or 17 cents a share, in the year-ago period. It surpassed expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who predicted a loss of 4 cents per share. However, it guided below the consensus estimate for 2008. The company sees earnings of between $1.55 and $1.75 a share, vs. analysts' expectation of $1.84 a share. Shares gave up $4.62 or 11.4%, to $36.10. Myriad lost $7.8 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with a loss of $11.4 million, or 29 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $45.5 million from $32 million. Analysts expected a loss of 19 cents a share on revenue of $42.9 million. But shares still edged down $1.09, or 2.5%, to $42.03. Adams and Myriad are both components of the Nasdaq Biotechnology index, which was up 1.88, or 0.22%, to 799.96. DJO ( DJO) gained 1% after saying it received FDA approval for new features for its existing bone growth stimulation devices. The new features will make the products easier to use. The stock was up 49 cents to $47.91. St. Jude ( STJ) said it received approval from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, for its Angio-Seal STS Plus Vascular Closure device. The company also received reimbursement approval for the device in Japan. Shares were up 7 cents to $43.33. Genta ( GNTA) gained 6.3%, after it said it enrolled its first patients in AGENDA, its phase III trial for Genasense Injection treatment for advanced melanoma. The company plans to accrue 300 patients worldwide in about 18 months. Shares rose 5 cents to 85 cents. Elsewhere, Encysive Pharmaceuticals ( ENCY) said it would sell 7.7 million shares to institutional investors for $1.95 a share. The offering is expected to raise $15 million in proceeds, before fees and expenses. The company also will issue five-year warrants to purchase 7.7 million shares at the same exercise price. The company will use the $15 million for working capital and general corporate purposes, including commercialization of hypertension drug Thelin in Europe, Canada and Australia. The company expects to close the offering or before Friday. Shares slipped 14 cents, or 7.1%, to $1.84.
Stocks soar as the gross domestic product rises at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter and continuing jobless claims fall. Gregg Greenberg recaps the action in The Real Story video (above).