Health indices were relatively flat ahead of the weekend -- downgrades and a regulatory investigation suppressed some stocks while business updates fluffed up others. For a second day, shares of NPS Pharmaceuticals ( NPSP) were on the decline. The company on Thursday reported disappointing results for its short bowel syndrome drug Gattex. Two analysts subsequently downgraded NPS on Friday. Jefferies analyst Adam Walsh reduced his rating to hold from buy, and reduced his price target to $4.50 from $7. Oppenheimer analyst Jack Hu downgraded the stock to neutral from buy and reduced his price target to $6 from $12. NPS fell another 3.8% to $4.05 on Friday. Then, a Bear Stearns analyst downgraded Momenta Pharmaceuticals ( MNTA) to underperform from peer perform. In light of a new Food and Drug Administration policy, the analyst said the launch of the company's drug candidate M-enoxaparin could be delayed until mid-2008. Momenta gave up 71 cents, or 5.4%, to $12.39. Momenta and NPS are both components of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up nearly 1% at 895.51. Also before the weekend, Stryker ( SYK), Zimmer Holdings ( ZMH), Smith & Nephew ( SNN) and Medtronic ( MDT) said Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an informal inquiry into possible company violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business.
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).