Shares of Laserscope () got hit by a double whammy, plunging from 43 in July to 21 now. The maker of lasers to treat enlarged prostates posted disappointing third-quarter sales. What's more, Medicare cut reimbursement for prostate procedures. The laser is also used for cosmetic procedures. The drop has prompted buying by pros who felt the sell-off was overdone. "Laserscope is well on its way to becoming the standard of care in prostatic hyperplasia," says Keay Nakae of investment firm C.E. Unterberg Towbin, who rates the stock a buy, with a 12-month target of 31. Although sales are down from the previous quarter, year-over-year sales jumped 77%, he notes. Part of the sales drop was due to Hurricane Katrina, which disrupted business in the South. He sees earnings of $1.01 a share in 2005 and 96 cents in 2006 (when a higher tax rate kicks in). Patrick Winton of brokerage Sterne, Agee & Leach says the Medicare and other issues won't harm Laserscope's long-term performance. He tells his clients to buy.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.
By Gene G. Marcial