Nellcor May Soon Breathe Easier

On Apr. 16, Nellcor Puritan Bennett (NELL) announced the kind of earnings gain most companies would be proud of: Profits in the quarter ending Mar. 31 had climbed 68%, to $19.2 million, or 65 cents a share. Nice, right? "Wrong!" was the emphatic verdict on Wall Street, where analysts had been predicting 74 cents. On that awful day, shares in the Pleasanton (Calif.) medical-supplies maker plunged 21%, from 64 to 50 1/2. Nellcor's NASDAQ-traded stock has not yet recovered from the battering.

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