3 Horrendous Health-Care Stocks This Week


It's been a wet week for much of the U.S. Shareholders of several health care stocks probably feel like they have been soaked this week regardless of the weather where they live. Here are three horrendous health-care stocks for the past five days that have dampened the spirits of investors.

When it rains, it pours
You know what they say: "When it rains, it pours." Internet health insurance broker eHealth experienced the displeasure of experiencing that old adage firsthand over the last couple of weeks. The company made our list of horrendous health-care stocks last week after shares fell 21% on disappointing earnings results and guidance. Now, it has the dubious distinction of making a repeat appearance.

Shares dropped another 15% this week. Some of this decline probably stems from continued repercussions from the poor earnings and lower-than-expected guidance. The other culprit, though, was an announcement by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, about plans to cut Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates. That news hit many insurers in the Medicare Advantage market, particularly Humana , which saw shares fall by as much as 8% before rebounding somewhat.

eHealth felt the pain more than others. That's probably because the company already will be in a difficult position as it tries to compete amid new state health insurance exchanges. Medicare cuts could make a bad situation even worse.

More pouring, more raining
Oncolytics Biotech is another company that opted to open the floodgates for more share this week. Shares fell 10% on the news.

The small biotech announced plans to move forward with a secondary offering of 8 million shares at $4 per share. This represents more than 10% of the current number of outstanding shares.

It's been a wild ride for Oncolytics shareholders over the past year. The stock fell more than 65% in 2012, but then the company announced encouraging results from a phase 3 study of Reolysin, its proprietary form of reovirus. This study showed significant improvement in tumor growth or shrinkage in patients with head and neck cancer who took Reolysin. Since that announcement, shares more than doubled -- at least until this week.

When it pours, it rains
Achillion Pharmaceuticals shares fell over 9% for the week. That's despite beating expectations with a net loss of only $0.14 per share compared to the $0.20 loss expected by analysts. Achillion's shares sank, though, because the company announced on the same day of the earnings release that it was pouring $125 million worth of new shares into the market with a secondary public offering.

Shares falling by 13% in one week isn't good news for shareholders, but it could have been worse. Achillion will issue 15 million new shares -- nearly 19% of the company's outstanding shares. The stock dropping less than it could have with this amount of dilution could reflect investors' overall bullish sentiment.

Achillion has two drugs in phase 2 trials for treating hepatitis C virus, or HCV. Sovaprevir is a protease inhibitor that can be taken once per day. ACH-3102 is an NS5A protein inhibitor. Both drugs appear to hold promise at this point.

Weathering the storm
Which of these three horrendous stocks is most likely to bounce back after weathering a stormy patch this week? That's a tough question, but I'd go with Achillion. Continued success with its HCV programs could place the company in the cross-hairs for being acquired by a larger player. If sovaprevir or ACH-3102 advance to phase 3 studies and do well, shareholders could be singing in the rain.

You might not want to hear him sing in the rain, but you definitely will want to hear what The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has to say. He recently selected his No. 1 stock for the this year. Find out which stock it is in the brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

The article 3 Horrendous Health-Care Stocks This Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.