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Tickers in this Article: QCOR, SOMX, IDIX, XLV, SPY
The healthcare sector has not outshone the rest of the market this year by any stretch, but a number of stocks in the sector have turned in tremendous performances since the bells of the New Year began to ring. To offer a little perspective, the Health Care SPDR ETF (NYSE:XLV), a proxy for the broad healthcare sector, has offered investors a 6.3% loss thus far in 2010. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) is down a little less than 2% over that period. Yet eight healthcare issues have at least doubled in value in that time frame. By comparison, nearly 20% of the stocks in the Russell 3000 that have accomplished that feat. Below we list three of these healthcare winners, complete with salient fundamentals and recent performance results.

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Wake Up to Big Profits ...
Shares in Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:SOMX) are up better than 270% this year, with much of the rise attributable to FDA approval of the company's insomnia medication, Silenor. Somaxon stock pays no dividend and has yet to post positive earnings for the year, yet institutions have found good reason to buy the stock. They presently hold more than 60% of the company's shares.

In preparation for the commercial launch of Silenor in September, the company issued more than $50 million worth of common stock.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:IDIX) operates in the drug development field, specializing in treatments for AIDS and hepatitis B. Since trade opened in 2010 the stock has climbed by 138%. Like Somaxon, Idenix offers neither yield nor positive earnings, and to date is owned 38% by institutions.

... And Stay Awake
Questcor Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:QCOR) offers consumers Doral, a treatment for insomnia, but its principal product is H.P. Acthar Gel, an injectable application that serves a variety of medical purposes. Shares in Questcor are up over 130% in 2010, trade with a P/E of 26.35 and are 76% institutionally owned.

QCOR's board of directors instituted an aggressive share buyback program this year and recently announced their intention to expand on it. In total, 13.5 million shares will have been repurchased out of total shares outstanding of 64.6 million.

The Wrap
Healthcare stocks like the ones examined here move nicely when approval is granted for their products. The next big move comes either after they partner with a global drug major to commercialize the product, or once they become well-capitalized enough to do it themselves. (For related reading, take a look at Pharma Patent Trolls: Cheap Drugs At A Steep Price.)

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