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Ahead of the Bell: Cepheid climbs after 4Q report

The Associated Press

Shares of Cepheid jumped 8 percent early Friday, a day after the molecular diagnostics developer trumped Wall Street expectations with its fourth quarter report.

Adjusted earnings for the latest quarter totaled 3 cents per share and revenue jumped more than 22 percent to $113.3 million as clinical systems sales soared 51 percent.

Analysts expected, on average, a loss of 11 cents on $102.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Citi analyst Amit Bhalla was "incrementally more positive" Friday and said it looked as though Cepheid had put behind it earlier concerns about the competition it faced. He raised his price target on the shares by $5, to $53.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company late Thursday posted a loss $10.3 million, or 15 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31, but results included a $4.4 million charge tied mainly to a restructuring and business realignment. That compares to earnings of $5.6 million, or 8 cents per share, in the previous year's quarter, when Cepheid had fewer operating expenses.

Cepheid sells molecular diagnostic systems and tests to help institutions perform genetic testing for organisms and genetic-based diseases.

The stock rose $3.93 to $51.20 Friday about an hour and a half before markets opened. That put the shares up nearly 10 percent so far this year.