In this segment of the Motley Fool Money podcast, host Chris Hill is joined by Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser, Hidden Gems Canada's David Kretzmann, and Total Income's Ron Gross to reflect on last week's most interesting business and economic news stories.
In the healthcare world, one of those has to be the impressive quarterly report from Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG). The company increased its revenue by 25%, and accelerated its sales of the da Vinci robotic surgical systems that made it famous. But it's not just the expensive hardware that is allowing it to prosper -- it's that every machine needs a steady supply of the disposable instruments and accessories used during its procedures. The Fools consider the recent numbers, the outlook, and the investment thesis for Intuitive Surgical stock. But in the, say, anti-healthcare space, cigarette slinger Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) took a big hit as demand slackened in major foreign markets. Sales of its e-cig devices are also not growing the way management had hoped.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on April 20, 2018.
Chris Hill: Intuitive Surgical increased sales of its da Vinci Robotic Surgical System in the first quarter and consequently, shares of Intuitive Surgical increased about 7% this week, David.
David Kretzmann: Yeah. It's all about this razor-and-blade model. Their total revenue this quarter grew 25%. They sold 185 of those da Vinci Surgical systems, which is up from 133 a year ago. The number of procedures performed on those systems increased 15%. Recurring revenue from instruments, accessories and services now makes up 73% of Intuitive Surgical's overall revenue. The company is basically printing cash at this point. They're generating about a billion dollars in free cash flow annually. They have no debt and $2.5 billion in cash on the balance sheet. So, very strong business model. They're trying to expand their systems to cover more different types of surgeries, just increase adoption of those systems in general, so probably still a lot of growth to come.
Ron Gross: We should relabel the show Stocks That Ron Missed. [laughs]
Hill: [laughs] I'm just thinking about accessories on a robotic surgery system, and all I can think is, maybe they bedazzle it, they add a little bling or something like that.
Kretzmann: Sure, yeah, little add-ons.
Hill: Make it look a little better. Lower corporate taxes are helping a lot of companies, but Philip Morris International does not appear to be one of them this week. Shares of Philip Morris falling more than 15% after first quarter revenue came in lower than expected. What's going on, Ron?
Gross: Well, obviously, a secular decline in cigarettes is part of the problem. But, this was actually worse than expected. A 5.3% decline for the quarter in cigarette shipment volume, with Japan, Russia and Saudi Arabia actually being the culprits for the most part. Perhaps an even worse situation, though, is the new technologies that are coming out, which companies including Philip Morris are spending billions and billions on to replace cigarettes. Their IQOS device, growth has significantly slowed. It was gangbusters in Japan, which was seen really as a bellwether for how this perhaps could take off. Growth is slowing, so that causes investors to be quite worried, if your main product is slowing and your thoughts for the future has slowing growth as well. The stock sold off pretty severely, pretty much the worst since they split from Altria back in 2008. We're going to have to see these billions of dollars pay off, otherwise these stocks are going to continue to be under pressure.
Jason Moser: I feel like this vaping thing is quickly becoming such a bad move. It seems like it's worse for you than smoking. And man, say what you will about cigarettes, but I don't recall those things exploding in your mouth, you know? And the vaping things can. And people are getting popcorn lung. It's [groans]