NEW YORK (AP) ¿ A Robert W. Baird & Co analyst upgraded shares of Varian Medical Systems Inc. Monday, citing his outlook for the medical device maker's sales.

Jeff D. Johnson upgraded the stock to "Outperform" from "Neutral" and boosted the price target to $49 from $41 citing a better outlook for demand in the European radiation therapy market. The company focuses on cancer therapy systems.

Other factors for the upgrade include growing demand in developing markets and economic improvements.

"Reasons we heard for why European demand could remain relatively stable to only slightly softer in 2010 versus 2009 were varied," Johnson said, citing government funding helping to support the industry, along with more budget protection for radiation and cancer care as compared to other health care areas in a number of countries.

Meanwhile, new products, such as the Unique bundled radiotherapy option, could help drive sales. Also, signs of an improving economy lessen the overall concern about hospital budgets, he added.

Shares of Varian closed at $40.83 Friday.

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