Wong predicted stronger gains outside of Stryker's crucial orthopedics division. Specifically, he forecasted rapid growth from the company's endoscopy unit -- where sales have soared by at least 19% for eight quarters in a row -- and similar results from the medical unit despite the mature nature of the products that it sells. Stryker said Tuesday that endoscopy and medical division sales each jumped at least 20%.

Regardless, both analysts remain heavily focused on challenges facing the orthopedics business instead. As a result, both remain generally cautious on the sector overall.

During the second quarter, Wittes noted, signs of a slowdown in orthopedic pricing clearly began to surface. During the third quarter, he predicted, evidence should have become more pronounced. By now, he added, both Smith & Nephew and Wright Medical have specifically warned of slowdowns in their hip and knee businesses for the most recent period. In addition, he said, Zimmer has gone on to suggest that expectations for the company's top-line growth -- currently at 12% -- have got to come down.

Wong highlighted some of those same developments when forecasting "less-than-stellar" third-quarter results and the potential for lowered guidance from the group.

Already, he pointed out, both Stryker and Zimmer have seen domestic price increases for orthopedic implants fall to between 1% and 2% in recent quarters. For the third quarter, he suggested, both companies could report the same -- or even smaller -- gains. And looking ahead, he predicted, they will likely face continued pressure both inside and outside of the country.

"All in all, it appears as if industry-wide pricing gains in the U.S. of approximately zero to 2% are the most likely scenario over coming quarters," Wong wrote. And "it appears as if Japan is once again planning to significantly cut medical device reimbursement rates for a two-year period beginning April 2006, so additional pricing pressures could impact our companies in Q2-06 and beyond."

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