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Shares of CR Bard Inc. (BCR - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $150.13 on Apr 1, eventually closing at $149.25 on the same day. In fact, shares of this NJ-based manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products have been gaining momentum since it reported strong fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results on Jan 30.

The company's share price has recorded a healthy return of around 50% over a year's time. Its long-term estimated EPS growth rate is pegged at 12.5%.

Strong Fourth-Quarter Performance

This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock reported strong fourth-quarter results, reflecting year-over-year increases in both revenues and adjusted earnings. Adjusted earnings per share reached $1.42 in the quarter, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.39 by 2.2%. Moreover, this company has delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 4.32%.

Revenues were $791.3 million, up 4% year over year, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.52%. On a geographical basis, while domestic sales increased 4% to $517.7 million, international sales went up 3% to $273.6 million. International sales also increased 3%, on excluding the impact of foreign exchange. International sales growth was impacted by the sale of BCR's electrophysiology division affected during the quarter.

On a segment basis, worldwide revenues of Urology increased 3% year over year to $202.4 million. Roughly 200 basis points (bps) were added to global growth at this segment, contributed by the Rochester Medical acquisition in mid-November. Likewise, 11% revenue growth of PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) with strong performance in both domestic and international markets along with a 2% rise in BCR's dialysis catheter business caused revenues from Oncology segment to increase 5% to $220.4 million.  

Management observed highest revenue growth of 16% in the Surgical Specialties segment in the fourth quarter, with domestic sales growth of 17% and international sales growth of 13%. BCR's research and development expenses climbed 220 bps to $70.4 million, reflecting higher investments pertaining to the company's strategic growth plan and the recent acquisitions.

During the fourth quarter, BCR repurchased around 1.4 million of the company's shares and returned over $800 million to shareholders in 2013.  

Estimates for BCR have been rising since its fourth-quarter earnings release. Over the last 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has risen 8.1% to $8.25 for 2014 and 6.8% to $9.14 for 2015.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other stocks worth a look in the medical industry include Cardinal Health, Inc. (CAH - Analyst Report), Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX - Analyst Report) and The Cooper Companies Inc. (COO - Analyst Report). All these stocks carry a  Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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