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Danaher's quarterly profit jumps 20%

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Danaher Corp.(DHR)reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $261.6 million, or 81 cents a share, up from $217.7 million, or 67 cents, earned in the final three months of 2004. Sales climbed 14.5%, topping $2.26 billion compared to $1.98 billion in the prior year. Analysts, on average, had been looking for quarterly earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $2.24 billion, according to estimates compiled by Thomson First Call. Revenue growth from existing businesses increased 5.5%, the company said. Operating profit reached $367.6 million from $316 in the year-earlier fourth quarter, as operating margin widened to 16.2% from 16.0%. Shares of Danaher fell 40 cents to end at $54.30 in Wednesday's trading.