Why AtriCure, Inc. Shares Surged

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of AtriCure (NASDAQ: ATRC  ) , a developer of cardiac surgical ablation systems, vaulted higher by as much as 21% after announcing preliminary results for the fourth quarter of 2013 and issuing its 2014 full-year guidance.

So what: For the fourth quarter, AtriCure expects to report $21.9 million in revenue, a 19% increase over the previous year with domestic revenue growing by 20% and international revenue increasing 17%. For 2014, management is projecting full-year revenue of $100 million to $103 million, representing a 22%-26% increase over 2013 with organic growth of 13%-15%. ArtiCure also anticipates its recently closed Estech transaction will be dilutive to EPS in 2014 and accretive to EPS in 2015 and beyond. By comparison, Wall Street had expected just $20.1 million in revenue during the fourth quarter and $90.1 million in sales in 2014.

Now what: What we have here is a mixed bag. On the one hand, ArtiCure's organic growth and growth by acquisitions could fuel sales growth of 10% for at least the next couple of years. In addition, an aging baby boomer population is widely anticipated to a boon to the health-care industry and medical device companies like ArtiCure. On the other hand, ArtiCure's share price has already soared threefold over the past year and it still doesn't have any profits to show for it. While its top line is headed in the right direction, I have a hard time suggesting anyone chase this higher without any tangible profits. Until I see a very meaningful reduction in losses, I would suggest watching this company from the sidelines.

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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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AtriCure, Inc. CAPS Rating: **