Intuitive Surgical Stock Climbs on Strong Earnings Beat and Analyst Upgrades

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Intuitive Surgical stock was upgraded after its latest earnings report.

Courtesy Intuitive Surgical

Shares of

Intuitive Surgical

rose early Wednesday, as investors digested the robotic-assisted surgery firm’s better-than-expected financial results.

Late Tuesday,

Intuitive Surgical

reported earnings per share that were 33.1% higher than Wall Street consensus estimate, according to FactSet. The stock rose 3.2% in recent Wednesday trading.

In addition, analysts from
Robert W. Baird
and Oppenheimer upgraded the stock, though SVB Leerink’s Richard Newitter said he saw “less expensive ways to play a COVID recovery.”

The company, which sells robotic tools and systems used in surgeries, saw sales drop in 2020 to $4.4 billion, from $4.5 billion in 2019, as the Covid-19 pandemic halted medical procedures worldwide. Now, analysts see the company recording $5.3 billion in sales in 2021 as those procedures return, according to FactSet.

On Tuesday, Intuitive (ticker: ISRG) said that procedures worldwide using its da Vinci system had grown by 16% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020. First-quarter revenue was $1.3 billion, up 18% compared with the same quarter last year. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $3.52, beating the FactSet consensus estimate of $2.64 per share.

Baird upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral on Wednesday, while Oppenheimer analyst Suraj Kalia upgraded the stock to Perform from Underperform.

Kalia wrote that competition is coming, and said that a low tax rate was driving earnings-per-share growth. But he said that he had been “dead wrong on the stock in the current market,” and as such is “temporarily moving aside.”

Intuitive shares have risen 63.4% over the past year, and 2.3% in 2021.

In a note out early Wednesday, UBS analyst Matthew Taylor wrote that the earnings results were an “upside surprise,” and that recovery was “progressing faster than expected on top of healthy capital spending trends.” Taylor increased his target price to $890 from $860, though maintained his Neutral rating. The stock was trading at $837.07 early Wednesday.

SVB Leerink’s Newitter, meanwhile, who rates the stock Market Perform, said the stock already has a “big valuation premium.”

Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at [email protected]

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