TECHNOLOGY TRADER: Looking for a Pulse by Bill Alpert
Highlighted companies: Medtronic Inc. (MDT), St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ), Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Conor Medsystems Inc. (CONR)
Summary: Sales of implantable defibrillators [ICDs] slumped following a two-year stretch of recalls. But recent news is heartening: Tests last week were better at finding new candidates for ICDs than they were at ruling out implantation -- suggesting doctors may use the test to justify new implants. And last month researchers found no increased long-term risk of heart attack in conjunction with drug-eluting stents. (On Dec. 7 experts convened by the FDA will meet to revisit the issue, a meeting investors will be highly focused on, and sure to be, in the words of one pundit, "a zoo.") All this should be good news for manufacturers Medtronic Inc. (MDT), St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ) and Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX), who are down 15%, 29% and 33% since last December. Medtronic reports on Monday, and Sanford Bernstein analyst Bruce Nudell says that if Medtronic's sales of ICDs show any strength, "a thrill would run through its shares and those of its rivals."
Related: Boston Scientific Comes Clean on Stent Risk • Medical Device Industry Breathes Sigh of Relief • Jim Cramer's take on BSX, STJ, and MDT.