Gains for Healthcare Stocks Outpacing Most Sectors; WebMD Slumps Following Stifel Downgrade

By Staff,

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Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +1.92%

PFE +2.19%

ABT +2.07%

MRK +0.94%

AMGN +1.79%

Healthcare stocks were mostly higher just ahead of the closing bell, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index climbing nearly 2.0% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 also gaining 2.0% as a group.

In company news, WebMD Health Corp. ( WBMD ) fell Tuesday after the online provider of health information services was hit with a downgrade to Hold from Buy by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus, citing declines in several of its advertising metrics.

In particular, Stifel said its ad tracker showed reduced utilization at the company for the first time since the first three months of 2012. Analyst Steve Rubis wrote in a new research note today that while he believe there are several catalysts that could propel WBMD growth this year, "we believe shares will remain weak as long as negative ad trends persist."

Price target information was not available.

WBMD shares were down 3.1% in late Tuesday trading, sliding as low as $41.24 during today's session. The stock has a 52-week range of $22.23 to $51.41 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) DVAX, Receiving $5.4 mln milestone payment from AstraZeneca ( AZN ), which will now assume responsibility for future clinical development of the companies' investigational TLR-9 agonist for treating asthma.

(-) PDLI, Reports Q4 earnings of $0.39 per share, missing Capital IQ consensus by $0.06. Revenue climbs 28.0% year over year to $110.1 mln, trailing Street view by around $5.12 mln. Will issue Q1 revenue guidance later this month.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: WBMD , AZN

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