St. Jude Medical Guides Lower

The company cites a sluggish U.S. market for defibrillators.
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St. Jude Medical (STJ) guided first-quarter results downward due to lower-than-expected growth in the U.S. market for implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Following the announcement, the company's shares fell $3.30, or 8%, to $38 in recent after-hours trading on Instinet.

The medical device company said late Tuesday that it now expects to earn 35 cents to 36 cents a share for the quarter ended March 31 on sales of about $784 million. St. Jude had previously expected to post sales of $799 million to $839 million.

The EPS estimate includes stock compensation expense of about 3 cents. On that basis, a Thomson First Call survey of analysts was expecting St. Jude to earn 39 cents a share on $827.5 million in sales.

St. Jude said all other product categories were "on track" for the quarter, but that ICD sales would come in at $262 million, a 27% increase but below the company's expectations.

The company believes the lower sales reflected a greater-than-anticipated slowdown in U.S. market growth. St. Jude said it will undertake a customer review to clarify the extent to which ICD sales were affected by this slowdown or by other factors. ICD revenue outside the U.S. continues to meet expectations, St. Jude said.

"While most of our business continues to meet or exceed expectations, the events in the marketplace over the past year have led to increased volatility and have made ICD market growth patterns in the United States less predictable," said St. Jude Medical Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel J. Starks.

Revenue for all other product categories is expected to meet or slightly exceed previous guidance, the company said.