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Is Intuitive Surgical Really in Trouble?

Shares of Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) have taken a fall after a report by Andrew Left of Citron Research pegged shares of the stock at $350 in the near term and $250 over the next 18 months. But is the panic really merited? In this video, Motley Fool health care analysts Brenton Flynn and David Williamson go through some of the issues cited in the report and give their opinions on a few gray areas.

If you want exclusive, members-only analysis of the Citron report, be sure to check out this brand-new premium report on Intuitive Surgical. Only hours ago, analyst Karl Thiel released his take on the news, and it's only available here. As one of the minds behind our Rule Breakers recommendation of the stock in 2005 (before it went on to gain more than 1,000%), Thiel knows the Intuitive Surgical story inside and out. It's a must-read for any current or prospective investor, and it comes with a full year of analyst updates. Be sure to claim your copy today by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (11)

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  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 12:37 PM, JRMMGR wrote:

    One Citron point that Williamson and Flynn didn't discuss is the issue of training and qualification. When is a doc ready to do independent surgery on the DaVinci system? Standards haven't been established yet by the medical community for this radically different surgical environment. A doc may be great at manual hysterectomies but that doesn't mean he can switch right over to DaVinci ones. Apparently, some hospitals were so anxious to implement the DaVinci, they were not making sure their docs were ready. Another issue is proper maintenance of the systems. Some of the hardware issues Citron reported may have been maintenance failures.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 1:30 PM, 123spot wrote:

    It's also interesting to note here, that the tort attorneys involved have used a not uncommon tactic to better get at the "deep pockets" of ISRG. The surgeons are not named as defendants as they often would be, along with multiple others (hospitals, etc.). This is a little like a plea bargain deal where the surgeons are given immunity to testify against the company while any potential negligence arguments against them will not be prosecuted, I am sure to their great relief. They are therefore heavily incentivized to blame ISRG in graphic testimony under threat of being named defendants should they fail. Nasty business. Spot

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2012, at 4:07 PM, Mikeycollins13 wrote:

    You boys are a tad bit naive: THE TRUSTS!

    These guys all shove the shares in the TRUSTS, dump them, and they don't to file squat!

    The trusts then buy their beautiful homes and holds them for their heirs.

    Neat trick?

    Unscrupulous, yes, legal, yes100%.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2012, at 12:14 AM, DeviceGuy wrote:

    Somehow the larger point made in the Citron report seems to have flown over this guy's head. That is, there is no clinical benefit to robotic hysterectomy compared to traditional laparoscopy, yet the procedure cost is much higher. To quote the report, "ISRG is a solution looking for a problem". No doubt that this is amazing technology that is driving innovation in surgical care. But In order to keep growing, ISRG must keep convincing hospitals and surgeons that they need a third (or fourth) daVinci system for their OR. That means moving into high-volume general surgery procedures where the case for clinical and economic value is even more difficult to make.

    ISRG has been astonishingly immune to the reality if evidence-based medicine and healthcare economics. It will be interesting to see what effect Obamacare and other changes to health policy do to their business.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2012, at 1:19 AM, TraderatWork wrote:

    With earning growth rate of 20%+, ISRG intrinsic value might worth 40X PE. But this time it might hit a rock and drop below 350 or even 320. So one can wait a little longer.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2012, at 12:06 AM, WhidbeyIsland wrote:

    It's always fun to think that the latest and greatest technical innovation is good for my health and my portfolio. Sometimes it is; sometimes it is. I've been fortunate with my health; no major operations (manual or robotic) needed yet; probably inevitable. I've been fortunate with ISRG; great increase in value since I took a flyer on it. Over the last few days I realized I needed to eliminate some shares for increased expenses in coming year. Everything looked pretty solid except ISRG which seemed risky. Overboard it went while much higher than I paid for it. Am I "smart." Probably not. Am I lucky (not an official or approved term here). Probably. In the long run . . . well, you know what happens to everyone.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2012, at 12:07 AM, WhidbeyIsland wrote:

    Supposed to say "Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn't." Dumb and dumber; there I go.

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Intuitive Surgical CAPS Rating: ****