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Are ResMed Inc. (CHESS) shares in the buy zone?

Credit: PressReleaseFinder

Medical device company ResMed Inc. CHESS (ASX: RMD) which specialises in treating sleep-disordered breathing has seen its shares slip by approximately 5% over the past 12 months which is significantly better than the 19% slump in the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

As one of the first companies to report its results for the six months ending 31 December 2015, investors are already armed with fresh data to analyse.

For the half year, revenues increased 8% to US$866 million, gross margins shrank to 58.3% from 62.3% in the prior corresponding period, and diluted earnings per share declined from US$1.22 to US$1.21.

Importantly, on a constant currency basis, revenues increased by 14% with unfavourable currency movements impacting revenues by approximately US$49 million.

The key driver of the improved sales result were the North and Latin American regions which experienced gains of 23% in flow generators and 11% in masks, and other accessories. Meanwhile, markets outside of North and Latin America experienced declines in both product groups which in total led to a decline of 4% in sales for these regions.

ResMed is undoubtedly an above average company, so short-term gyrations in sales and earnings need to be kept in perspective.

Having said that, the stock does trade at a premium in recognition of the company’s quality. This means the stock is always at risk of being de-rated if the market takes a different view as to the group’s growth outlook.

For this reason, it’s important investors keep a close eye on peers such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH) and Somnomed Limited (ASX: SOM) to help gauge how the industry at large is fairing and also whether competitive pressures are encroaching on ResMed’s market share.

With the above factors in mind, based on analyst consensus forecasts (source: Thomson Consensus Estimates) of earnings of 31.8 cents per share and with ResMed’s share price at $8.04, the implied financial year 2016 price-to-earnings ratio is 25 times. That is arguably a relatively full price to pay for the stock which could mean the stock is not yet in the buy zone.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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