Stryker sees 2010 earnings rising 8-12 percent

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NEW YORK, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Stryker Corp (SYK.N) projected earnings would rise between 8 percent and 12 percent in 2010, within the range of Wall Street expectations, helped by growth of its orthopedic implants and hospital equipment.

Stryker also reported sales for the fourth quarter of 2009 above analyst forecasts.

Sales of hospital products have been especially hard hit in the economic downturn as hospitals, struggling with rising numbers of uninsured patients and declining endowments, have held off on purchases.

Stryker, which released its results and projections before a presentation at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, forecast 2010 earnings of $3.20 to $3.30 per share on Tuesday. Analysts on average are looking for $3.29, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company also expects sales to rise 5 percent to 8 percent this year on a constant currency basis, helped by higher shipments of orthopedic implants and other equipment.

For 2009, Stryker estimated earnings at $2.94 to $2.96 per share, excluding items. Analysts expected $2.94.

Fourth-quarter sales rose 6.8 percent to $1.83 billion, ahead of the nearly $1.8 billion expected by Wall Street.

Global orthopedic implant sales rose 9.7 percent to $1.12 billion in the fourth quarter. Sales of its MedSurg unit including hospital equipment such as medical beds, stretchers and operating room equipment increased 2.5 percent to $719 million.

For 2009, orthopedic implant sales rose 3.8 percent, while MedSurg Equipment sales fell 5.4 percent.

“It was nice to end the year on a stronger note,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen MacMillan said in a statement. “We are feeling better as we enter 2010 that our MedSurg franchises have stabilized and are showing signs of a modest recovery.” (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)

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