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While Markets Waffle, Medtronic Hits New Highs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- No stock keeps hitting new 52-week highs without taking a bit of a pause. The past several weeks haven't seen many new 52-week highs, but the company I'm spotlighting has had more than one.

In the past I've referred to Medtronic (MDT - Get Report) as the "Rodney Dangerfield" of medical products companies. For a long period its stock and the value of the company couldn't get any respect.

That moniker has changed lately, but this is a company that knows how to be patient about its reputation and its business results. Founded in 1949, Medtronic has grown to become the world's largest independent medical technology company.

It's self-stated "mission" is to "...alleviate pain, restore health and extend life," and that's a mission to which everyone can relate. In fact its mission hasn't changed since its co-founder, Earl Bakken, wrote it in 1960: "To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health and extend life."

MDT claims that more than seven million lives are enhanced every year by a Medtronic product or therapy, or one every four seconds. The Minneapolis company operates in more than 120 countries, employs 45,000 people (including 9,000 scientists) and has pursued research and innovation that's led to more than 23,000 patents.

It's difficult to put a value on those 23,000 patents, but MDT's market cap of around $53 billion probably isn't high enough. That's part of the reason why, on June 14, shares reached a 52-week high of $53.30. Then, on Monday, they hit another high of $53.80. Wednesday's closing price was $52.05.

The medical technology and medical device sector has been doing well during 2013 so a "time-out" resulting from the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee statements and interpretations wasn't unexpected. Yet, this pull-back has little to do with MDT's future or its latest news.

The scale and scope of MDT's products and technologies are as impressive as its eye-pleasing Web site. You owe it to yourself to browse through the Web site, especially its investor relations section.
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