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Waters

The bank also placed a $63 target on Waters' stock.

Two big recent proposed deals — a bid by Danaher to buy ABI/MDS mass-spec joint venture and MDS Analytical Technologies, and Agilent's bid for Varian — could signal a trend of consolidation in the proteomics.

Life Tech and Danaher provided some more rationale on their mass-spec deal, while Waters said a potential acquirer would have to pay "top dollar" for the company. Meanwhile, Agilent snags a big pharma deal for its 1290 UHPLC, and Thermo Fisher sees brighter skies ahead.

Instruments sales were down 8 percent, but its Acquity UPLC system continued to gain traction in the market, and its recently launched Synapt G2 is receiving as strong a reception as any instrument launched by Waters in recent years, company officials said.

Waters' revenues declined 9 percent year over year, while its adjusted EPS missed analysts' consensus estimate by a penny.

Despite the gyrations on Wall Street, the stocks of the largest mass spectrometer manufacturers rose an average of almost 48 percent for the first half of 2009, according to ProteoMonitor's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News.

In a research note, Isaac Ro of Leerink Swann noted that Waters pioneered the UHPLC category with the Acquity "and has a considerable leadership position, a large installed base, and a wide menu of proprietary columns."

Leerink Swann upped its revenue estimates for 2009 and stock valuations for both firms.

Sustained interest in its high-end mass specs as well as the Acquity UPLC, along with stimulus-fund spending, fueled cautious optimism from CEO Douglas Berthiaume that the worst may have passed.

Waters shares rose sharply on tuesday afternoon after the firm's earnings per share for the first quarter handily beat Wall St. estimates. The firm's Q1 revenues, however, were down 10 percent year over year.

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