Market Overview

Healthcare Movers: Gilead Sciences, Clovis Oncology, Pluristem, VIVUS, Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Achillion Pharmaceuticals

U.S. stocks pushed higher on Monday as bargain-hunters emerged after last week's selloff, though concerns of a drawn-out battle over the "fiscal cliff" put a cap on gains. Barclays cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,325 from 1,395, citing the government spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect early next year unless Congress acts before then. Though most consider it unlikely that a deal will not be reached, analysts fear going over the cliff could push the economy back into recession. The following are the notable movers in healthcare at mid-day on Monday:

Gilead Sciences, Inc.(NASDAQ: GILD) shares gained 11.20% to $72.29 after the company has drawn first blood from Abbott Labs in the battle for hepatitis C pill supremacy. Twelve weeks of treatment with two Gilead drugs plus the immune system booster ribavirin yielded an interim cure rate of 100% in treatment-naive hepatitis C patients.

Additionally, GILD's stock had its "outperform" rating reiterated by investment analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein in a note issued to investors on Nov. 6. They currently have a $84.00 target price on the stock.

Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ: CLVS) stock plunged 36.20% to $13.75. The company said it will suspend the development of an experimental cancer compound after it proved no better than standard chemotherapy in improving overall survival of metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. The failure of Clovis' cancer drug comes days after bigger rival Celgene Corp said its approved lung and breast cancer drug Abraxane improved survival in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Pluristem Therapeutics (Nasdaq: PSTI) (TASE: PLTR) shares continued to recover, rising over 4% at mid-day after an Equity Research Note from a Maxim analyst said "An Erroneous Story Misrepresented the Facts" about the Israeli firm. The firm reiterated their "Buy" rating and issued an $8 price target while providing three valuation metrics - FCF, discounted EPS, and sum of the parts.

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) shares gained 3.05% to $11.17 after the company reported third quarter net loss of $40.40 million from $8.63 million in the same quarter last year. Loss per share was $0.40 compared to a loss of $0.10 per share prior year.

The company also said the increase in net loss is primarily attributable to increased selling, general and administrative expenses related to pre-commercialization and commercialization activities for Qsymia. In addition, research and development expenses increased due to the start-up costs associated with the post-approval studies for Qsymia and STENDRA.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ: IDIX) shares climbed 11.75% to $4.65. The company posted third quarter total revenues of $32.3 million, as compared to total revenues of $2.6 million in the third quarter of 2011. The Company reported a net income of $4.3 million, or $0.03 per basic and diluted share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012, compared to a net loss of $11.7 million, or $0.12 per basic and diluted share for the third quarter ended September 30, 2011.

The company announced the presentation of safety and antiviral activity results for the Company's clinical-stage hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug candidates - IDX719, a next-generation pan-genotypic NS5A inhibitor, and IDX184, a nucleotide polymerase inhibitor.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN) shares fell 11.21% to $8. The company posted third quarter loss of $15.26 million or $0.20 per share from $10.44 million or $0.15 per share in the same quarter last year. The company recognized no revenue for the third quarter, compared to about $64,000 last year. Analysts had expected a loss of $0.17 per share on revenue of $50,000 for the third quarter.

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