Health indices were flat and balanced on another heavy earnings day Thursday. First a non-earnings item, Progenics Pharmaceuticals ( PGNX - Get Report) surged $2.61, or 32.5%, to $10.64 Thursday. The stock was already up nearly 19% from Monday's open prior to Thursday's rally, as investors showed enthusiasm for the prospects of Wyeth and Progenics' Relistor for treatment of constipation induced by pain-killers in patients who are receiving palliative care. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a decision on the drug -- previously delayed from January of this year -- on or by April 30. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended the agency approve Relistor. Progenics helped to keep the Nasdaq Biotechnology index in the green. The index edged up 0.3% to 806.01. On to earnings, Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY - Get Report) earned $661 million, or 33 cents a share, in the first quarter, down from $690 million, or 35 cents a share, in the year prior. However, the company reported adjusted profit of 42 cents a share on revenue of $5.18 billion. Adjusted results edged past analysts' estimates, who had pegged profit of 41 cents a share on revenue of $5.12 billion, on average. Shares edged up 78 cents, or 3.6%, to $22.21. On a GAAP basis, ImClone ( IMCL) swung to a loss of $55.9 million, or 65 cents a share, in the recent quarter. But, excluding the impact of an $89.4 million writedown, ImClone reported adjusted profit of $29 million, or 33 cents a share, nearly flat with the $29.8 million, or 33 cents a share, it posted a year earlier.
Revenue increased to $162.6 million, up from $141.5 million in the 2007 period, surpassing the consensus expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial who were looking for 33 cents a share on $157.5 million. ImClone shares closed off by $1.25, or 2.6%, at $47.50 Thursday. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca ( AZN - Get Report) said sales rose 10% to 7.677 billion pounds ($15.3 billion), but profit fell to 1.503 billion pounds ($2.99 billion), from 1.56 billion pounds in the 2007 period. Results were slightly below Wall Street expectations, and shares gave up 50 cents, or 1.2% to $41.95. Orthopedic-device maker Zimmer ( ZMH) reported profit of $239.3 million, or $1.02 a share -- up just 3% from $233.4 million, or 98 cents a share, in the 2007 period -- and $244.3 million, or $1.04 a share, on an adjusted basis. Sales rose 11% to $1.06 billion, in line with the Thomson Financial consensus target of $1.04 a share on revenue of $1.06 billion. The company also announced it has authorized the addition of another $1.25 billion to its stock-buyback program. The new program expires at the end of 2009. Zimmer shares gave up $3.08, or 4.1%, to $72.87. Also, health-care equipment maker Invacare ( IVC - Get Report) shares gave up $3.03, or 14.5%, to $17.92. The company reported a profit of $3.1 million, or 10 cents a share, vs. a loss of $17.5 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. On an adjusted basis, it earned 11 cents a share, on sales that increased 11% to $416.3 million.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had pegged 24 cents a share on sales of $393.5 million. In analyst actions, BMO Capital Markets adjusted its price target for biotech Biogen Idec ( BIIB) up to $67 from $62, and also health-services company WellPoint ( WLP) down to $54 from $60, the day after both companies released their quarterly results. Deutsche Securities also lowered its target for WellPoint to $70 from $75. WellPoint shares were down 94 cents, or 1.9%, at $49, and Biogen edged down 84 cents, or 1.3%, to $63.67.