NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There's not much anyone can do whenever the Street has made up its mind about fundamental metrics on which it wants focus. Nor can we control what the Street decides to completely ignore. But I can't see how shares of Stryker ( SYK) makes any sense at these levels.The last time we discussed this company, I told you that the stock was too expensive. Not only was Stryker (at the time) trading at a P/E of 21, which (then) exceeded the industry average of 20, but the stock was also trading at a P/E three points and four points higher than rivals Zimmer Holding ( ZMH) and Covidien ( COV), respectively. If that was not enough, add the fact that the company was mired in legal battles due to product recalls for two of its artificial hip implants. Even then, the stock was up 20%. Now, following another subpar quarter, I'm even more concerned about the growth challenges that lie ahead, even if the Street believes the company will get by unscathed. It's pointless to dispute Stryker's strong market position. I won't disagree that the company has a solid lead in the in the orthopedic and medical technology market where it competes with (among others) Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and Medtronic ( MDT). But that's not the issue here. What concerns me is, as seen by the stock's recent 52-week high and 11% gain over the past three months, investors are already pricing in a victory over the recall situation. Whether or not this works in your favor, it doesn't excuse the fact that this is a dumb bet and completely unnecessary. Bulls will disagree.
In that regard, unlike the April quarter, it was clear the product recalls have begun to take a toll. That the company posted only a 1% growth in instruments serves as perfect example. Management was able to offset the weakness with a better-than-expected showing in its Neurotechnology and Spine business, which was up 10% year over year. I'm willing to credit management for this performance. This is an area where Stryker competes directly with Covidien, and it certainly looks as if Stryker is winning market share in this segment. But that was the extent of any good news that I could find in this report. Typically, when a company underperforms on revenue there is usually a "silver lining" or two that manifest itself on the operating side, particularly in margins. But this was nowhere to be found. Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.