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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Medical device and equipment makers are nearly 5 times more likely to have lowered profit expectations for this year than the rest of the S&P 500.

By the numbers: Of the 26 health care device and equipment makers in the S&P 500, 11 missed Wall Street's expectations for 2019 guidance, according to FactSet.

  • The sector only accounts for 5% of the S&P 500, yet they represent 20% of all companies that gave downbeat forecasts — second only to tech.

The big picture: Many of these companies, which sell products that help keep people alive like heart valves, IV bags and dental equipment, make sizable portions of their revenues abroad.

  • Six of the 11 companies that missed on guidance make at least 50% of their revenue abroad.
  • For example, Waters, which makes laboratory software and equipment, booked 80% of last year's sales outside of the U.S.

What they're saying: As fears of an earnings recession this year stir, these executives are blaming the strong U.S. dollar for less-than-expected profits in upcoming quarters.

  • "I know the world worries about the volatility of [emerging] markets and the reliability of those markets, and in particular, currency. And we're all going to live with currency if we're a multinational company, and I don't think we're any different." — Miles White, Abbott Labs CEO
  • "As you see the dollar continue to strengthen, not only against the euro ... But it's pretty much against every other currency around the world. And so that's a little bit worse." — Chris Reidy, CFO of BD

Be smart: A guide-down of one quarter's worth of earnings doesn't change the necessity, market power or overall profitability of these companies. It reflects some of the volatility that comes with selling medical products in other, more regulated health care systems overseas.

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

11 mins ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1 in 3 people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan— Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.