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Cepheid, Inc. (CPHD)

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Molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc. (CPHD) reported a strong fourth quarter with both revenues and earnings going past the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Apart from portfolio expansion, the company is expanding its international operations, which is encouraging.

While MRSA surveillance continues to be the largest test, its C. difficile test is gaining increasing acceptance. Placements for the HBDC program were encouraging, although Cepheid prefers to hold a cautious stand given funding uncertainties.

Based on an expanding test menu coupled with rising HAI costs, we expect GeneXpert placements to maintain an uptrend. With encouraging guidance for 2012, which exceeded our expectations, we upgrade the stock to Outperform.

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