Earnings continued to dominate the action in health stocks Thursday. Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY) said that before items, it earned $764 million, or 38 cents a share, up from $438 million, or 22 cents a share, in the 2006 period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected 37 cents a share on revenue of $5.02 billion. The company also lowered full-year 2007 guidance to between $1.28 and $1.33 a share from between $1.35 and $1.45 a share, a change that reflects a charge for in-process research and development related to its Adnexus acquisition. On a non-GAAP basis, it raised guidance to between $1.42 and $1.47 vs. a prior forecast of $1.35 to $1.45 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expect $1.44 a share in 2007. Bristol shares gained 94 cents, or 3.3%, at $29.36. Abaxis ( ABAX), which makes portable blood analysis systems, reported that its profit rose 37% to $2.9 million, or 13 cents a share, from $2.1 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, it surpassed revenue expectations with a 20% increase to $25.2 million from $21 million in the 2006 period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for 14 cents a share on revenue of $23.7 million. Shares rose $5.19, or 21.5%, to $29.38. In the other direction, Celgene ( CELG) was trading down $5.96, or 8.5%, to $64.22, after missing expectations for revenue and sales but beating per-share earnings estimates. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $124.1 million, or 29 cents a share, vs. $59.4 million, or 15 cents a share, in 2006. The Thomson Financial consensus target was 28 cents a share on revenue of $368 million.
Meanwhile, Wednesday after close, Amgen ( AMGN)
reported third-quarter earnings of $1.18 billion on an adjusted basis, down from $1.22 billion a year earlier. Earnings rose on a per-share basis to $1.08 from $1.04 because of fewer shares outstanding. On a GAAP basis, Amgen's profit fell to $201 million, or 18 cents a share, from $1.1 billion, or 94 cents a share a year ago, due to $973 million in charges that included previously announced layoffs and facility shutdowns. Revenue was flat year-over-year at $3.6 billion. Shares were down 82 cents, or 1.4%, at $57.31 Thursday. Away from earnings, Eli Lilly ( LLY) and partner Daiichi Sankyo said late Wednesday that they halted two trials on their blood clot preventive Prasugrel because the dosage may need to be adjusted for certain subpopulations of patients. The company suspended enrollment and administration of the drug until protocol amendments can be completed and approved. It said results from a pharmacokinetic analyses indicated the need for the dosing adjustment. Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight from equalweight and lowered its price target to $51 from $61. Shares fell $3.72, or 6.6%, to $52.43. The stock is a component of the Amex Pharmaceutical index, which was up 0.42, or 0.1%, at 345.85. An in puzzling action, Protalix BioTherapeutics ( PLX) shares began trading significantly lower at the open. The company offered 10 million shares of common stock at $5 a share, granting underwriters the ability to purchase an additional 1.5 million shares to cover overallotments. The offering is an 86% discount to the stock's closing price Tuesday of $36.06. The stock, which was halted Wednesday, opened Thursday at $5.95. Shares ended Thursday's session at $6.31.