U.S. Markets open in 9 hrs 12 mins

Danaher shares hit new high on optimistic outlook

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Danaher Corp. hit an all-time high Wednesday after the industrial and medical equipment maker offered an optimistic outlook for the fourth quarter.

THE SPARK: Danaher said it now expects to post a profit at the high end of its previously projected range of 80 cents to 85 cents per share, along with "higher-than-expected core revenue growth."

Analysts, on average, expect a profit of 83 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

THE BIG PICTURE: Danaher President and CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. said late Tuesday that the company posted a "strong finish to the year from both a revenue and earnings perspective."

Culp was set to detail the company's outlook in a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco later on Wednesday.

THE ANALYSIS: Jefferies analyst Jon Wood backed his "Buy" rating for Danaher, but raised his price target by $1 to $66, citing expectations of higher cash flow.

Wood said core revenue was better than expected at each of the company's major operating units, particularly its life sciences and diagnostics and test and measurement businesses.

THE SHARES: Up $1.96, or 3 percent, to $59.64 in heavy morning trading, after peaking at $60.50 earlier in the day and passing its previous high of $59.87. Danaher shares gained about 19 percent in 2012.