Stryker's ( SYK) flexible business strategy continues to pay off in a tough environment for the orthopedics group. The orthopedics device maker rose 3% late Thursday after posting solid second-quarter results. Earnings jumped 20% from a year ago to $214 million, or 52 cents a share, beating the Wall Street target by a penny. Sales climbed 9% from a yeer earlier to $1.33 billion, just shy of the $1.34 billion Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate. But shares rose $1.30 in late action Thursday to $44.50 as investors applauded the Kalamazoo, Mich., company's consistency. Stryker's medical-surgical division, which sells hospital equipment, once again drove much of the company's growth. In that unit, sales jumped by a solid 15%, to the surprise of some analysts who had sensed a possible slowdown coming. At the same time, however, the company's orthopedics division posted a 6.6% growth rate that came in even lower than some people had anticipated. Nevertheless, Stryker sees better days ahead. "Excluding the effect of foreign currency exchange rates, the company expects annual net sales growth in the range of 11% to 13% in 2006," Stryker said in a press release Thursday. "The company's outlook for 2006 continues to be optimistic regarding underlying growth rates in orthopedic procedures and the company's broadly based range of products in orthopedics and other medical specialties, despite the potential for increased pricing pressure on orthopedic implant products in the United States, Japan and certain other foreign markets." Stryker's booming med-surg business has been lifting results throughout a painful downturn in the orthopedics industry. Still, the company had been warning recently about slowing growth in its med-surg unit as well. As a result, Wall Street experts had scaled back their expectations for that division in advance. For example, JP Morgan analyst Michael Weinstein projected that the med-surg unit would increase second-quarter sales by just 11% -- down sharply from the 20% growth rate reported in recent years -- before new product launches help spark a rebound in the second half of 2006.