NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Health-care information provider IDX Systems warned shareholders Friday that it will report a loss in its first quarter.
According to Burlington, Vt.-based IDX (IDXC), sales will drop as low as $60 million in the three months ending March 31, driving the company to expect per-share losses between 22 cents and 26 cents a share.
The number is drastically below the First Call estimate of 35 cent per share profits.
"We believe the primary factor in the sales shortfall is the unexpected deferral of purchasing decisions by our customers and prospects," said CEO Richard E. Tarrant, adding that the company believes its business is "fundamentally sound."
In particular, Tarrant said the delayed contracts remain in negotiation, allowing IDX to expect to be profitable again by the second quarter.
The medical-information industry has suffered in recent months from Medicare cutbacks and increasing levels of competition, feeding pernicious pricing pressures.
The Standard & Poor's health care (specialized services) index has fallen more than 20 percent this year, leading S&P to discourage would-be buyers.
IDX stock opened with an 11-point plunge Friday, trading at 15.