Intuitive Surgical's robots will expand to new applications and boost the company's sales, according to a top Wall Street firm. Goldman Sachs reiterated its buy rating for the surgical robot maker, predicting the company will report earnings above expectations next year. "Our latest checks with management and physician users leave us incrementally bullish on the new product pipeline and opportunities for robotic surgery to expand into new applications," analyst Isaac Ro wrote in a note to clients Thursday. We "see the potential for further upside if lung biopsy and hernia markets become significant. Our higher price target is a function of higher target multiples, which we justify given our increased confidence in the growth outlook vs. Med Tech peers." Intuitive Surgical is one of the best-performing stocks in the market this year. The company's shares are up 84 percent year to date through Wednesday compared with the S & P 500's 15 percent return. He noted a recent Goldman Sachs survey, which revealed general surgery procedures using the company's da Vinci robots will double over the next two years. The analyst said hernia repairs "is likely to see the most growth." Ro estimates Intuitive Surgical will generate 2018 earnings per share of $9.54 versus the $9.34 Wall Street consensus. The analyst also believes the company will be able to fend off new competition. "Our checks confirm that heavy users will be willing to try alternative systems in both established and future applications but seem highly likely to retain the vast majority of procedure volumes on the ISRG platform," he wrote. Ro increased his price target to $409 from $387 for Intuitive Surgical shares, representing 5 percent upside to Wednesday close. — CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.
The da Vinci robotic system.
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Intuitive Surgical's robots will expand to new applications and boost the company's sales, according to a top Wall Street firm.
Goldman Sachs reiterated its buy rating for the