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Healthcare Stocks Holding Near Session Highs; Actavis Advances to New 52-Week High After Q4 Earnings Top Estimates

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 2/20/2014 2:58:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: ACT;FRX

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +1.10%

PFE +0.40%

ABT +0.72%

MRK +1.53%

AMGN +0.19%

Healthcare stocks were mostly higher Thursday, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index advancing 1.0% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 rising 1.0% as a group.

In company news, Actavis plc ( ACT ) rose to a new 52-week high Thursday after the generic drug-maker reported Q4 earnings of $3.17 per share, ex items, topping analyst forecasts by $0.13 per share.

Revenue rose 58.8% year over year to $2.78 billion, also exceeding the Capital IQ consensus by around $120 million.

ACT also reaffirmed its FY14 guidance expecting per-share earnings of $12.60 to $13.10, ex items, spanning the median estimate looking for $13.01 per share. Both estimates excluded possible impacts of ACT's pending purchase of Forest Labs ( FRX ).

Shares were up 4.2% at $219.33 apiece, earlier reaching a new 52-week high of $222.24 a share.

In other sector news,

(+) ISR, (+1.3%) Extends gains to a second day after late Tuesday reporting fiscal Q2 net loss of $0.02 per share, $0.01 less than the year-ago loss. Revenue rose 11% year over year to $1.09 mln, trailing Thomson Reuters consensus by around $30,000.

(-) ONTX, (-41.7%) Said its rigosertib intravenous cancer treatment combined with best supportive care did not show a a statistically significant improvement in median survival rates when compared to best supportive care in patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes.