Health stocks - like the rest of 'em - were battered on Wednesday despite promising earnings from a few early reporters. The Nasdaq and Amex biotechnology indices were down 7.9% and 6.3%, respectively - slightly less than the broader market indicators. In earnings, Genentech ( DNA) shares added $2.38, or 3.0%, to $81.50 a day after the company kicked off biotech earnings season with its third quarter results. Sales of its lead products surpassed expectations. Genentech -- which didn't talk about a possible buyout by Roche on its earnings call -- garnered upgrades from Citi and Cowen and Co. on Wednesday. Wednesday before market open, Abbott ( ABT), which beat on the top and bottom line, also upped its full year guidance by about 11 cents to a range of between $3.31 and $3.33. Abbott's shares were down 90 cents, or 1.6%, at $53.88, in recent trading. But the stock still out performed the Amex pharmaceutical index (of which it is a component); the index lost 6.3%. St. Jude ( STJ) also edged past top line estimates, with revenue increasing 17% to $1.08 billion, and guided to a range of $2.30 to $2.32 a share for the year, roughly in line with analyst estimates. Shares were off by 49 cents, or 1.3%, at $37.26. Coming up Wednesday after the close post-market close, earnings from Amylin ( AMLN). Analysts, on average, expect a loss of 50 cents a share, on revenue of $229.8 million. On Thursday, look for earnings from device and pharmacy company Baxter ( BAX)before market open and biopharma companies Gilead ( GILD) and Cubist ( CBST) after the close.
The Street expects 82 cents a share on revenue of $3.07 billion from Baxter, 49 cents a share on revenue of $1.32 billion from Gilead, and 33 cents a share on revenue of $108 million from Cubist.