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TheStreet Open House

Plenty of Risks Remain In St. Jude's Stock

Stocks in this article: STJJNJMDT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wall Street can be a funny place some times, if not entirely irrational. While some stocks can often languish in the absence of good news if not drop, there are those that can thrive regardless of constant streams of negativity news. It's as if they've become bullet-proof.

St. Jude Medical (STJ) fits this description -- much to the dismay of many bears, waiting patiently for the stock to get cheap.

There's no denying that St. Jude has enjoyed years of strong performances in the medical devices industry. But over the past several quarters, the company's solid reputation has taken hits. There have been concerns related to the company's Riata and Durata Leads, which is used by patients to help prevent (among other things) heart failures.

These leads, which help carry the electrical impulses to the heart and provide information from the heart to the devices, were reported to have malfunctioned from premature insulation failure. The unfortunate situation, which has resulted in several product recalls, has not only brought about class-action claims, but it has recently garnered the attention of the Food and Drug Administration. As it stands, St. Jude is now operating under several written warning from the FDA.

This is just the negative public-relations issue. On the operating side, there have also been concerns about the company's ability to compete against rivals including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Medtronic (MDT), which are seen as more nimble. The issue has been with St. Jude's product pipeline, which I've never thought inspired any sort of real confidence about future growth.

With such concerns, you would think that investors would approach the stock with surgical gloves to avoid getting their hands dirty. But the Street has other ideas. Despite coming off three consecutive dismal quarters, not only has the stock risen 32% over the past three months, but shares of St. Jude have soared almost 50% in the trailing 12 months.

I'm not blaming St. Jude here. It's not the company's fault that investors have fallen in love with the stock. But it does seem that investors are betting on hope and praying that St. Jude comes of out this situation intact. But I believe that's a bit too much to ask, especially for a stock that's already posted such strong gains. For St. Jude investors, it seems foolish to keep pressing your luck.

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