Health stocks sluggishly started out the week with regulatory approvals but light volume and relatively flat indices. Of the approvals, Biogen Idec ( BIIB) said Monday that the Food and Drug Administration cleared its Tysabri for moderate to severe Crohn's disease. The drug, which is also used to treat multiple sclerosis, is now indicated as a treatment for patients who've unsuccessfully tried conventional treatment for the disease and will be available by the end of February, according to the company. About 500,000 people in the U.S. have the disease. Biogen was trading up $1.07, or 1.8%, at $60.09. Then King Pharmaceuticals ( KG) said it received FDA approval for revised labeling for its Thrombin JMI product, which is used to control surgical bleeding. The new labeling recognizes new manufacturing processes that reduce a protein, bovine factor V, which can cross react with the human counterpart and cause clinically significant bleeding. Shares rose 57 cents, or 5.1%, to $11.74. Teva ( TEVA) also received tentative FDA approval on Monday, but shares were headed in the other direction. The agency tentatively approved Teva's generic version of Eisai's Alzheimer's treatment Aricept. The company is currently involved in patent litigation with the product, but anticipates full approval by April 26. Separately, the company said it is considering selling its animal health business and has retained Bear Stearns as a financial adviser. The company also suffered a downgrade; HSBC Securities lowered its rating for the stock to neutral from overweight. Shares were trading down 61 cents, or 1.3%, at $47.37.
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).