Health care stocks were narrowly lower this afternoon, with the NYSE Health Care Index dropping 0.3% while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF was down 0.2%.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index also was falling 0.8%.
In company news, MediciNova (MNOV) fell nearly 22% despite the biopharmaceuticals company earlier Thursday reporting positive clinical results for its ibudilast drug candidate as a prospective treatment to prevent chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, with half of the study participants treated with a combination of ibudilast and the oxaliplatin cancer medication showing "improved symptoms in the acute period (and) improved neurological parameters."
Among gainers, Owens & Minor (OMI) raced more than 53% higher after the health care products distributor Thursday raised its FY20 earnings forecast, now projecting adjusted net income in a range of $1.75 to $1.90 per share, up from its prior outlook expecting between $1.00 to $1.20 per share. Analysts, on average, are looking for the company to earn $1.39 per share during the 12 months ending Dec. 31, excluding one-time items.
UnitedHealth Group (UNH) also was fractionally higher after Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources, the health care insurance company is in advanced discussions to acquire online pharmacy startup DivvyDose for about $300 million. The plans are not final and the discussions could still not result in a deal, according to the report.