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Shares of major medical devices manufacturer St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ - Analyst Report) reached new 52-week high of $59.39 in mid-day trading yesterday. Shares of the company closed at $58.98 on the same day, representing an impressive one-year and year-to-date returns of 79.4% and 63.7%, respectively.

STJ has a market cap of $16.8 billion. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stood at approximately 1,881.5K.

Shares of St. Jude Medical started escalating following its strong third quarter results on Oct 16 and higher earnings guidance. Adjusted earnings per share in the quarter were 90 cents and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. It also surpassed the year-ago earnings of 83 cents by 8.4%. Adjusted earnings were at the higher end of the company’s third-quarter guidance of 88–90 cents a share.

Revenues inched up 1% (3% in constant currency) year over year to $1,338 million in the third quarter and exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,321 million. Revenues in the U.S. (48.3% of total revenues) grew 1.1% to $646 million while that in the international markets (51.7%) increased 0.7% to $692 million in the reported quarter.

STJ upgraded its adjusted earnings expectations for 2013 to the band of $3.72–$3.74 from the earlier range of $3.70–$3.73. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 earnings is pegged at $3.73 per share, which lies within the guided range.

Currently, St. Jude carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Despite a difficult Med-tech space, we are optimistic about St. Jude’s strong ability to drive bottom line growth on the back of cost-saving measures and restructuring efforts.

Some better-ranked stocks in the medical products industry include Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (HRC - Snapshot Report), NuVasive, Inc. (NUVA - Snapshot Report), and diaDexus, Inc. (DDXS). Both Hill-Rom Holdings and NuVasive carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while diaDexus carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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