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Healthcare stocks languish in 1996

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U.S. healthcare stocks generally turned in a lackluster performancein 1996, according to the results of Annual Healthcare IndustryReport, a year-end survey issued this week by WDI Capital Marketsof Hilton Head, SC. Overall, healthcare stocks were up a

U.S. healthcare stocks generally turned in a lackluster performancein 1996, according to the results of Annual Healthcare IndustryReport, a year-end survey issued this week by WDI Capital Marketsof Hilton Head, SC. Overall, healthcare stocks were up a meager2.7% in 1996, compared with growth of 40% in 1995. The industrywas down 4.7% in 1994 and 9.4% in 1993.

Within medical imaging, the imaging services segment saw its sharesgrow 43.5% for the year, a performance that led all healthcaresegments but was still down several points from 1995's hefty growthof 52%. The segment was driven by growth in shares of Health Images,which gained 129%; Alliance Imaging, which grew 105%; MedicalResources, up 103%; and SMT Health Services, up 95%.

The imaging devices segment ticked up a mere 4.3%, compared withgrowth of 75.9% in 1995, according to the WDI survey. Gains of97% by both Acuson and ADAC Laboratories were offset by a 47%decline at Elscint (including a 5-for-1 reverse stock split),a 41% drop in Fischer Imaging shares, and a 43% decline in Norland'sstock. Other firms whose shares posted gains in 1996 include OECMedical, up 54%; Lunar, up 27%; and Hologic, up 21%.

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