Intuitive Surgical rises following upgrade

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NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc. rose Tuesday after a Needham and Co. analyst upgraded the stock and raised his expectations for sales of the company’s da Vinci robotic surgery system.

Sameer Harish raised his rating to “Buy” from “Hold.” While hospital equipment sales are being hurt by the recession, he said Intuitive remains a compelling investment. Harish expects better international sales over the coming years, and believes revenue growth in the U.S. will be stronger than he previously thought.

In afternoon trading, shares of the Sunnyvale, Calif., company advanced $9.25, or 6.2 percent, to $158.53.

The company’s da Vinci robotic surgery systems are used in heart and urologic procedures, among other operations.

Harish set a price target of $180 per share on Intuitive stock, which suggests it will rise about 20 percent over the next year. He raised his annual profit estimate to $4.63 per share from $4.49, and his revenue target to $891 million from $878 million.

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