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UBS Warburg downgraded St. Jude Medical (STJ
) to reduce from hold.
Analyst David Lothson says the company is the best performing stock in the medical supply and device sector since March 31, 2000. He says the strength reflects a return to earnings per share consistency, combined with an acceleration in both sales and EPS growth, which are a function of a recovery in the company's implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) operations.
Lothson believes important new product offerings in ICDs by both Medtronic and Guidant will not be matched by St. Jude for at least one year. He also thinks the failure for St. Jude to beat consensus estimates could lead to selling pressure on the stock. Lothson cut his $85 12-month target to $65.