The last day of November saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) launch 490 points higher, its best gain since 2009, as central banks teamed up to ease euro-crisis fears. For the month, the DJIA closed up slightly; however, several well-known health-care companies fared significantly better.
Companies with market caps of less than $150 million were screened out, as low valuations leave shares susceptible to bigger price swings. So although a company like Pozen has gone on a tear -- up 61.4% for the month after selling royalty rights to its migraine drug Treximet for $75 million -- it didn't make the list.
Here are the five top-performing health-care stocks in November. Be advised that the side effects of reading this list have known to include either bouts of jealousy or euphoria.
% Change in Share Price
Inhibitex (NAS: INHX)
Medivation (NAS: MDVN)
American Dental Partners
Gentiva Health Services (NAS: GTIV)
Source: S&P Capital IQ.
The drama continues to build around next-gen hepatitis C treatments. Gilead Sciences made a splash when it decided to buy out Pharmasset and its drug candidate PS-7977 for a hefty premium. That news, combined with solid efficacy data for INX-189, caused Inhibitex to be the top performer this month. Medivation similarly rose on positive efficacy data, although it's going after prostate cancer. Acquisition excitement wasn't limited to Pharmasset, as American Dental Partners agreed to be bought out by a private-equity shop. After reporting ugly Q3 results that included branch closings, it was discovered in SEC filings that insiders were snapping up shares, causing the stock to rebound in a big way.
Just missing the cut was Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NAS: SPPI) -- up 26.9% thanks to the FDA's simplification of the procedure for its drug Zevalin -- and Antares Pharma (ASE: AIS) , up 20.1% on news that phase 3 drug candidate LibiGel improved free testosterone levels in women post-menopause.
But just because these five companies had a blockbuster November, that doesn't mean the good times will roll forever. Track the ones that didn't get bought out using our free watchlist service, My Watchlist.
Add Inhibitex to My Watchlist.
Add Medivationto My Watchlist.
Add Gentiva Health Services to My Watchlist.
Add Spectrum Pharmaceuticals to My Watchlist.
Add Antares Pharma to My Watchlist.
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At the time thisarticle was published David Williamsonholds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.