Needham Cuts Edwards Lifesciences to Hold

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Needham downgraded Edwards Lifesciences (EW) to hold from buy, after the company posted quarterly results.

Analyst Clay Wilson says the company's heart valve business growth slowed to 2% in the second quarter, down from 7% in the first, and 15% over 2005. With the heart valve franchise accounting for 48% of total revenues, he believes this slowing merits attention. He says 52 cents second quarter pro forma EPS was slightly above consensus, but slightly below his 55 cents estimate. He cut his $2.21 2006 earnings per share (EPS) estimate to $2.00. He believes that heart valve growth levels over the next two quarters will be very important indicators that will merit close monitoring. He downgrades and discontinues his price target at this time.

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