Through The Fly's Eyes: St. Jude Medical
Larry Schutts is a contributing editor for Theflyonthewall.com and the Vice-President of Stockwinners.com.
St. Jude Medical: Healing Wounded Hearts
Being a particularly hard-working organ, the heart can be subject to bouts of irregular behavior. A world leader in the development and application of technologies designed to keep the heart running smoothly is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota.
St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ) designs, manufactures, and distributes medical devices for heart-related and neurological conditions. The firm's Cardiac Rhythm Management segment makes pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, to regulate heart rhythm. The Neuromodulation unit develops pacemaker-like implantable systems to treat chronic, intractable pain, and other nervous system disorders. The Cardiovascular division offers therapies and technologies for treating people with cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease. The Atrial Fibrillation segment develops products to diagnose, treat, and seek a cure for atrial fibrillation. Boston Scientific (BSX) is a major competitor.
The company pleased investors last week, when it reported Q2 EPS of 45 cents and revenues of $947 million. Analysts had been expecting 43 cents and $909.8 million. Management also guided Q3 EPS to 44-45 cents (45 cent consensus) and FY07 EPS to $1.74-$1.78 ($1.75 consensus). Wachovia subsequently upgraded the shares to "outperform" and Jefferies termed the valuation "attractive." The stock popped into a bullish "pennant" consolidation pattern on the news. Prices frequently exit pennants moving in the same direction they were traveling when they entered them. In this case, that would be to the upside.
Altogether, brokers now recommend the issue with four "strong buys," nine "buys," nine "holds" and one "sell." Analysts see a 17% average annual growth rate, through the next five years. The STJ Sales Growth rate (13.69%), EPS Growth rate (18.42%), Operating Margin (21.46%), Net Profit Margin (15.65%), Return on Assets (11.12%), Return on Investment (13.68%) and Return on Equity (21.82%) compare favorably with industry, sector and S&P 500 averages.
The stock is one of those used to calculate the S&P 500 Index. Institutional investors hold about 80% of the outstanding shares. Over the past 52 weeks, STJ has traded between $32.33 and $45.39. A stop-loss of $39.50 looks good here.