Health stocks sagged Friday along with the broader market, with little news out to attract buyers.Some of the larger pharma stocks, such as Merck ( MRK - Get Report) and Pfizer ( PFE - Get Report), were nearly flat. Biotech Amgen ( AMGN - Get Report) also hugged the flatline late afternoon. However, biotechs Celgene ( CELG - Get Report), Cephalon ( CEPH) and Biogen ( BIIB - Get Report) gave up ground, falling 1.4%, 1.8% and 2% respectively. The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices edged down a respective 1.02% and 1.07%. The Amex Pharmaceutical Index was a bit more secure, declining 0.2%. One stock under pressure was Oculus Innovative Sciences ( OCLS), which plunged 24% after announcing an offering of up to 2.6 million shares of common stock. Oculus said the sale proceeds of about $13.9 million will go toward general corporate purposes, working capital and operational purposes, and future acquisitions and strategic investment opportunities. The biopharmaceutical company expects the sale to close on or about April 1. Oculus shares fell $1.63 to $5.21. Among analyst actions, Punk Ziegel initiated coverage on Pain Therapeutics ( PTIE) with a buy rating. The stock nudged up 30 cents, or 3.9%, to $8.07. Lehman Brothers analyst Joshua Raskin downgraded WellPoint ( WLP) to equal-weight from overweight, noting that the company may have to further cut guidance. WellPoint shares fell $1.14, or 2.5%, to $43.70. Lehman Brothers also adjusted its price targets for a number of other health services and health insurance companies Friday. It lifted its target for UnitedHealth ( UNH - Get Report) to $46 from $41, and for Humana ( HUM - Get Report) to $52 from $37. UnitedHealth shares were adding 37 cents, or 1%, at $34.35. Humana, however, fell 87 cents, or 1.8%, at $45.85. On the other end, Lehman analysts lowered price targets for Coventry Health Care ( CVH) to $53 from $67, for Health Net ( HNT) to $35 from $52, Cigna ( CI) to $50 from $61, and Aetna ( AET) to $53 from $68. Coventry Health Care and Health Net were trading down 1.9% and 4.8%, respectively. While Cigna and Aetna were trading down 0.9% and 1.5%.
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