Healthcare Business Recap: St. Jude Medical and AstraZeneca Reaffirm Earnings Guidance

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) confirms the 2011 guidance it released on Dec. 20: Full-year core Earnings Per Share will still be in the range of $7.20-7.40. It will be in the lower half of that range after two downtrodden drug studies led to a fourth quarter pretax charge of $381.5 million.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDIX) reports positive data from a Phase IIb clinical trial of its Hepatitis C treatment IDX184.

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Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC) sees fiscal year 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization or EBITDA of $1.2 billion-1.3 billion. Achieving fiscal year 2011 EBITDA of $1.175 bilion-1.275 billion depends on whether “certain significant favorable pending reimbursement settlements” are recorded in the fourth quarter it says.

CareFusion (NYSE:CFN) expects the second fiscal quarter adjusted Earnings Per Share of $0.41-$0.45. This is below analyst estimates of $0.46. CareFusion sees revenues at $910 million-$915 million versus forecasts of $923.2 million, and continues to expect fiscal year 2012 revenues to grow 3-5% but cuts Earnings Per Share range. The Procedural Solutions operations was softer than forecast, with falling prices hurting margins.

Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) expects 2011 revenue of $4.8 billion and Earnings Per Share of $3.79, which is below a consensus of $4.83 billion and $3.80. Also establishing 2012 revenue guidance $5.4 billion-$5.6 billion and Earnings Per Share guidance of $4.70-$4.80, CELG is largely above a consensus of $5.4 billion and $4.52.

Humana (NYSE:HUM) expansion plan is proceeding better than projected. It expects sales of Medicare plans for 2012 to be slightly higher than its initial forecast. Citing its growth in Medicare Advantage and its overall presence both Susquehanna and Bernstein call the company their best bet in the health-insurance space.

St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) reaffirms fourth quarter earnings per share guidance. It also sees revenues in-line at $1.4 billion. The situation is “better-than-feared” and “a sigh of relief,” Leerink Swann says. But a 4% decline in fourth quarter cardiac rhythm sales suggests continued softness in the United States market for implantable defibrillators, sales of which have decreased on concerns of overuse and a Department of Justice investigation.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Tanya Harding at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

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