Intuitive Surgical tumbled more than 6 percent before markets opened Friday after reporting a 5 percent decline in quarterly earnings. The maker of robotic surgical systems said after markets closed Thursday that that it sold fewer da Vinci surgical systems in the most recent quarter, though the number of procedures conducted by the robotic systems actually grew about 12 percent. The da Vinci system uses robotic arms, cameras and a remote-control console to help doctors perform surgery with tiny incisions. It is used in gynecological procedures, heart surgeries, prostatectomies, urology procedures, and other operations. Overall, Intuitive earned $166.2 million , or $4.28 per share, compared with earnings of $174.9 million , or $4.25 per share, when it had more shares outstanding. Revenue fell more than 5 percent to $576.2 million . Intuitive had announced the revenue drop and system sales decrease earlier this month. Jefferies analyst Imron Zafar said in a research note that the magnitude of the spending increases Intuitive plans for this year is higher than expected, and that will significantly lower margins and profits compared to what he forecast. He added that while 2014 promises to be another difficult year, the company's long-term growth prospects are compelling. Shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc. fell $27.50 , to $411.50 in premarket trading.
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