Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) is a high-tech health care stock with a sky-high share price of about $600 right now. But don’t be scared off by the hefty price tag.
Intuitive Surgical just reported first-quarter net income of $3.50 per share after the close Tuesday, up from $2.59 per share in the year-ago period for a 35% increase. The consensus estimate was for EPS of $3.14, so ISRG blew away forecasts. As a result, shares gapped up as much as 9% on Wednesday and broke out to a new 52-week high.
The reason for this big success is that ISRG makes the innovative da Vinci surgical systems that have revolutionized operations used to treat cancer and heart disease, among other things. The robotic surgery system allows doctors to operate on a patient with fewer incisions, speeding up recovery time and reducing the risk of complications.
ISRG is up almost 400% in five years and almost 30% year-to-date in 2012. Don’t think this is necessarily a top, though. The company has seen 10 straight quarters of year-over-year profit increases and has seen a streak of revenue increases even longer than that. Health care is one of the few growth areas in the American economy, and ISRG is well positioned to capitalize on this trend.