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Top-performing big cap med tech stocks in 2015

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The Dow Jones U.S. medical equipment index rose 7% in 2015, compared to 11% for the Nasdaq biotechnology index. The med tech index rose more than 20% in 2014, only adding to the disappointment of losing to the biotechs in 2015. Top performers were Boston Scientific ($BSX)--which is successfully spinning (and executing) a corporate turnaround story--and fast growing TAVR pioneer Edwards Lifesciences ($EW). Ironically, Edwards officials spend a lot amount of time defending themselves against Wall Streeters, who are annoyed that the company's 2015 guidance significantly underestimated growth. Another notable performer was heart pump maker Abiomed, whose stock price rose more than threefold during the year. Increased volatility and sharply falling stock prices mean that med tech stocks have a decent chance of beating out their flashier biotech cousins in 2016. Unproven biotechs are among the first stocks that investors drop when they become risk averse (analogous med tech startups rarely go public during the R&D only stage). But the sudden 30% drop in shares of HeartWare show med tech is a reminder that med tech stocks are subject to many of the same uncertainties as biotechs related to commercializing new technologies, though to a somewhat lesser degree. More

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