NuVasive: The First Victim Of Last Night’s Presidential Debate

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This morning’s market has not been kind to healthcare stock. Mitt Romney‘s victory in last night’s Presidential debate has, in the eyes of investors, increased his chances of winning and decreased the likelihood of the so called “Obamacare” legislation going into effect as planned.

NuVasive: The First Victim Of Last Night's Presidential Debate

Would that NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA) could put its atrocious performance this morning down to the results of a Presidential debate and only that. The medical device company, which specializes in devices for spinal surgery, saw its stock fall by more than 30% this morning, before the market opened.

The stock opened today at $14.97, after closing on Wednesday afternoon at $22.62. The intra-day fall in the firm’s share price has been attributed to an announcement this morning, that revised expected revenue for the firm’s third fiscal quarter downward.

In it’s initial outlook for the quarter ending September 30, the company had predicted revenue in line with its second quarter takings of $154 million. In the statement released by the company this morning, it was revealed that actual takings were $147 million.

This miss, which doesn’t seem to be large enough to cause such a dramatic fall, was magnified by the firm’s relatively high P/E ratio. That number stood at more than 40X for expected 2012 revenues. The company has been a hot stock throughout 2012.

Between the start of the year and yesterday’s close, shares in NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA) had risen by more than 80%. The company’s miss in revenue, coupled with it’s expectation laden P/E ratio has caused investors to question the firm’s valuation. Today’s slide seems an avalanche of such questioning.

The company revealed its own theories for the drop in revenue. According to a statement, discounts offered by competitors, and delays caused by insurance companies kept the firm from reaching its targets. NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA) clearly did not expect those excuses to appease investors, but probably did not expect the kind of sell off that occurred.

The uncertainty over the future of the health care market, particularly after last night’s debate, will bring about increased volatility in the healthcare market. Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the controversial law if elected. President Obama, on the other hand, may well seek to extend and fine tune the provisions of the legislation, if offered a second term in office.

This means little to NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA) right now. The company will be buffeted by investor worries between now and October 29, when the firm will release full details of its third fiscal quarter. Investors are no longer convinced that NuVasive has a long growth life ahead of it, and they are voting with their portfolios.

Though the economy is the issue at the forefront of this election, and the one that will most directly effect the market, opinions are muddled on which candidate’s economic policy would be best for America. The effects of their policy on the healthcare market are much clearer.

Although Obama’s plan takes some money from the pockets of insurers, overall it adds tens of millions of procedures to the healthcare sector’s accounts, increasing revenue by an amount hospitals would be simply unable to accomplish on their own.

The effect of this clear cut choice on the sector will become more and more pronounced as we edge toward the elections, particularly if Mitt Romney continues in the vein he settled into in last night. Health care stocks are, quite possibly, the play of this election above all others.

NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA) may have been the first, or at least most obvious, victim of healthcare’s central place in this election, but it is unlikely it will be the last.

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