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Moderate Rise for Healthcare Stocks; Bio-Reference Labs At 6-Month High After Q2 EPS, Revenue Top Expectations

Top Healthcare Stocks

JNJ +0.53%

PFE +0.13%

ABT +1.11%

MRK +0.90%

AMGN -0.34%

Healthcare stocks were posting moderate gains, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index adding about 0.4% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 also rising about 0.4% as a group.

In company news, shares of Bio-Reference Labs ( BRLI ) rallied Thursday after the laboratory-services company reported fiscal Q2 earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations despite a weather-related slowdown that likely reduced its quarterly profit by nearly 12%.

Shares were up 18.8% at $31.81 apiece in mid-day trade, matching their best levels of the session and climbing to a six-month high. The stock has a 52-week range of $24.13 to $37.97 a share, rising less than 1% over the past 12 months.

The company late Wednesday earned $0.37 per share during the three months ended April 30, beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.05 per share. Revenue rose 14.1% year over year to $201.3 million, exceeding estimates by around $5.4 million.

BRLI management said adverse winter weather likely resulted in a $5 million decline in revenue during the quarter and reduced its earnings by about $0.05 per share.

Looking forward, the company said its performance during the current quarter ending in July will nearly match the year-ago period when it posted a $0.53 per share profit on $185.43 million in revenue. It also is expecting an unspecified amount of year over year improvement in Q4.

Analysts, on average, are looking for Q3 earnings of $0.60 per share on $208.42 million in revenue.

In other sector news,

(+) HALO, (+12.6%) FDA removes clinical hold on patient enrollment and dosing in a Phase II study of its PEGPH20 drug candidate in patients with pancreatic cancer, allowing the trial to resume under a revised protocol.

(-) NVAX, (-6.7%) Discloses plans for a $100 mln underwritten offering of its common stock. The company also intends to issue options to underwriters to buy up to 15 mln additional shares to cover possible overallotments.

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

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