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Stryker fourth-quarter profit up on higher sales, lower tax

(Reuters) - U.S. orthopedic implant maker Stryker Corp said on Wednesday quarterly net profit rose 43 percent, driven by increased sales in its reconstructive and neurotechnology divisions as well as lower taxes.

Excluding items such as product recall and acquisition charges, Stryker earned $1.23 per share, just ahead of the $1.22 per-share forecast, on average, by Wall Street analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Stryker said its effective tax rate in the latest quarter was 10.3 percent, compared with 24.6 percent in fourth quarter 2012.

For full-year 2014, when its accounting for amortization of certain assets will change, the company projected earnings of $4.75 to $4.90 per share and organic sales growth of between 4.5 and 6 percent. Analysts, on average, forecast full-year earnings of $4.58 per share.

The company reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $386 million, or $1.01 per share, compared with $270 million, or 71 cents a share a year earlier. Net sales for the quarter rose 5.6 percent to $2.47 billion.

Shares of Stryker, which closed nearly unchanged at $78.58 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, were up about 0.5 percent at $79.00 in after-hours trading.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)