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Edwards Lifesciences to Report on Lowered Outlook

EW shares have had a 52-week range from a low of $61.59 to as high as $110.79. It closed Wednesday at $87.80. This price translates to a trailing price to earnings ratio of 42 and a forward (1-year) P/E of 27. Their market cap is $10.16 billion.

Compared to larger competitors like Medtronic (MDT - Get Report)whose P/E (trailing and forward) are only 12 and 11, Edwards Lifesciences would appear to be richly priced.

As Jim Cramer often says, one of the most important financial numbers is a company's operating cash flow, which in the case of EW has been more than $331 million in the trailing 12 months period. Its levered free cash flow stood at more than $142 million (trailing 12 months) as of the end of the second quarter.

If operating cash flow and total cash is to improve to support such a rich price multiple, it would seem to be imperative that they have a blow-out quarter when it comes to revenue growth. Revenue is projected to improve beyond the comparable quarter from last year. For the year, revenue is projected to increase from last quarter's $1.78 billion to $1.91 billion, which would be a 7.3% improvement.

The 5-year chart below traces the history of EW's share price and its trailing 12 months revenue per share growth. There is a powerfully obvious correlation, so if the price is to be sustained or increased so must the revenue.

EW Chart EW data by YCharts

View the 22 analysts' EW estimates and projections and judge for yourself.

My sense is that EW may exceed expectations enough to maintain the current share price level. If they disappoint don't be surprised by a rather steep sell-off, which would set the stage for a more reasonable entry price level and P/E.

With their 5-year expected price to earnings to growth ratio of 1.68, a further correction in the shares of Edwards Lifesciences from current levels would not be unwarranted.

Remember the old investor's adage, "don't chase a stock, but let it come to you," and expect your patience to eventually be rewarded. Just like coronary surgeons do when they use the very best procedures and products.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

Make smarter trading decisions and provide investment ideas that could help make you richer. Bryan Ashenberg does the dirty work so you don't have to.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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