Why NuVasive Inc. Shares Jumped

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 NuVasive (NASDAQ: NUVA  ) , a developer of minimally invasive surgical medical devices, jumped as much as 10% after announcing its preliminary fourth-quarter results, as well as its fiscal 2014 forecast.

So what: For the fourth quarter, NuVasive anticipates reporting revenue of approximately $189 million, and noted that its non-GAAP operating margin will likely surpass its previously issued guidance of 14.5%, meaning EPS will also likely be higher than expected. By comparison, Wall Street had been anticipating NuVasive would report $176.4 million in revenue for the fourth quarter. Looking ahead, NuVasive is forecasting roughly $725 million in full-year revenue in 2014, with another 100 basis points of non-GAAP operating margin expansion and the assumption of further spinal device market share gains. Wall Street was only forecasting $712.1 million in full-year revenue in 2014.

Now what: The strength from NuVasive's earnings report is a bit surprising considering how critical its CEO, Alexis Lukianov, was of Obamacare and its medical device excise tax in prior years. It's also a bit confusing, given that most hospitals and patients are cutting back on medical procedures with the uncertainties of Obamacare still working themselves out. However, don't let my surprise/confusion hide the fact that these are solid results. In fact, if NuVasive is performing this well in a tight spending environment, and with the addition of Obamacare's extra taxes on medical device makers, imagine how well NuVasive will perform when baby boomer retirements kick into high gear! I wouldn't exactly call NuVasive a value play here at 29 times forward earnings, but I would certainly suggest adding it to your watchlist.

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