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Varian Extends Share Repurchase Program

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Varian Medical Systems (VAR - Free Report) revealed that its Board of Directors has authorized repurchase of an additional 6 million shares of its common stock between Dec 30, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014 on top of its prior repurchase authorization of 8 million shares, initiated on Sep 29, 2012 and expires on Dec 31, 2013.

Under the previous 8 million share repurchase authorization, VAR has repurchased 6.05 million shares for $424.1 million until the end of third quarter of the year. This means there are 1.95 million shares remaining to be repurchased under the repurchase program.  

Varian posted net earnings of $1.08 per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, which was flat compared with the prior-year quarter and missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4 cents. In fact, net earnings declined 2.4% to $117.3 million from $120.2 million in the year-ago quarter.  

However, net earnings for fiscal 2013 rose 2.6% to $438.2 million from $427.0 million a year ago, while it increased 5.9% to $3.98 from $3.76 on per share basis, missing Varian’s own expectations of $4.00–$4.04 per share.

Revenues edged up 1.8% year-over-year to $769.9 million during the quarter, falling short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $780 million and missing the company’s growth projection of 5% for the quarter. Revenues for fiscal 2013 grew 4.8% to $2.9 billion.

VAR expects revenues to grow by 6–7% and earnings per share between 87 and 91 cents for the first quarter of fiscal 2014. For fiscal 2014, VAR anticipates revenues to grow in the range of 6–8% and earnings per share between $4.22 and $4.34.

Currently, Varian retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other medical instrument stocks that are worth a look include Cynosure, Inc. and Natus Medical Inc. (BABY - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Masimo Corp. (MASI - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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