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Why Intuitive Surgical toppled

July 21, 2017

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) is hamstrung on a “psychological barrier” at 1,000 a share, an analyst argued Friday as the stock toppled despite the robot surgeon-maker’s sales and earnings beat late Thursday.

The numbers simply weren’t good enough to pull the stock above 1,000, Evercore analyst Vijay Kumar said. On the stock market today, Intuitive Surgical stock tumbled 4.6% to close at 927.47.

Shares have climbed by half this year, and closed in on the 1,000 mark Thursday, hitting a high at 974.66. Intuitive Surgical inched up after hours following its second-quarter earnings report.

“While a headline revenue, procedure and overall systems beat all pointed to ‘life is good’ for Intuitive Surgical, they key question for investors is whether these numbers were enough to drive the stock higher and potentially break through the 1,000 psychological barrier,” Kumar said.

U.S. procedures — a proxy for overall health of the company — continued to be healthy, he wrote in a note to clients. That said, procedure guidance implies a slowdown in the second half of the year from the first half.

“Guidance of about 15% (growth) at the high end implies about 13% (growth) in the second half of the year vs. 17% seen in the first year,” he wrote.

RBC analyst Brandon Henry doesn’t see the same psychological barrier at 1,000. He upped his price target on Intuitive Surgical stock to 1,000 from 950. But her kept his sector perform rating on the stock.

Henry also increased his sales views for 2017 and 2018 to $3.03 billion and $3.38 billion, respectively, and calls for adjusted profits to come in at a respective $23.65 and $26.65 a share.

Meanwhile, Intuitive Surgical is working to maintain its lead in robotics and is aiming to have a lung biopsy system launched in 2019. It’s facing robotics competition from the likes of Google parent Alphabet and Medtronic.

“While robotics competition is coming, Intuitive Surgical is making the necessary investments to expand its total addressable market and remain a premium player in the surgical robotics market,” he wrote in a note to clients.


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