Guidant

(GDT)

reported 25% growth in third-quarter earnings, topping analysts' expectations by a penny due to overall strong sales of pacemakers and defibrillators.

The company earned $122.8 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $98.2 million, or 32 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Last year's earnings include a charge of $7.6 million, or 2 cents a share. A

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First Call/Thomson Financial

poll of 28 analysts gave an estimate of 39 cents a share.

Overall sales for the third quarter rose to $600.8 million from $569 million last year.