Health stocks followed the broader markets into a refreshing green spell on Thursday amid medical technology and diagnostics earnings. Big biotechs Amgen ( AMGN) and Biogen Idec ( BIIB) were up trading up more than 2% each. Also Gilead ( GILD) and Genzyme ( GENZ) added 1.4% and 1.2% respectively. In fact, every stock on the Amex biotechnology index, which was up 2.1% at 760.94, read green midday Thursday except for biotech behemoth Genentech ( DNA). Its shares were incidentally off by 0.4%, at $67.92. Away from biotechs, Orthopedic product maker Orthofix International NV ( OFIX) said Thursday that its first-quarter profit fell to $3.6 million, or 21 cents a share, from $6.3 million, or 37 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 9% to $128 million from $117 million, beating expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial who expected profit of 9 cents a share on revenue of $122.5 million. The beat prompted a 14.6% rise in the stock, to $35.25. Also up, Natus Medical ( BABY) 6.5% to $20.94 after beating first-quarter earnings estimates and raising guidance. The newborn-care product maker said it earned $2.6 million, or 11 cents a share, up 73% from $1.5 million, and 7 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed 36% to $36.9 million, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for 10 cents a share, on $35.5 million in revenue. Natus also upped its first-quarter expectations to 72 cents a share on revenue of $162 million, from previous guidance of 70 cents and $161 million.
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).