Medtronic PLC released its fiscal 2016 second quarter results last week. Analysts have been keeping an eye on the company’s growth since the completion of the Covidien merger at the start of the year. A major selling point of the $50 billion transaction was the promise of more consistent sales growth.

Earnings per share for the second quarter ended Oct. 31 of $1.03 came in over analysts consensus estimate for the quarter and the top-line sales figure of $7.06 billion, came in basically in line with ­expectations.

Leerink analyst Danielle Antalffy saw positive signs in the sales trend. “Medtronic continues to build a consistent track record of at least mid-to-high single digit sales growth that should increase investor confidence in the sustainability of this growth going forward,” she wrote in a research note Thursday.

Optum driving growth at UnitedHealth

UnitedHealth Group hosted its annual investor conference last week in New York City where revenue growth was a big topic. Before those meetings, the company told analysts it expects revenue for 2016 to be in the range of $180 billion to $181 billion.

That jump can be attributed to Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth’s most recent deals, including the $12.8 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp. earlier this year by its Optum business unit. The Optum unit is expected to be a big driver of UnitedHealth’s overall growth.

Wedbush analyst Sarah James wrote a bullish note on UnitedHealth after the meetings. “We believe United’s long-term core growth rate of 8 to 11 percent is expected to be heavily driven by Optum, which we believe is on the path to grow revenue to $89 billion by 2017 from $66 billion in 2015,” James wrote.

“We continue to view United as an undervalued growth story driven by Optum,” she added.

James reiterated her buy rating of “outperform” in a research note published ­Tuesday.

2016 could be a pause in longer-term bull market

As 2015 comes to a close more market experts are offering their predictions for 2016. Brian Belski, who is the chief investment strategist for BMO Capital Market, is long-term bull and writes often that we are in the midst of a 20-year secular bull market. But he went on record this week with an S&P 500 prediction of 2,100 for end of 2016.

A summary headline from his research note this week expressed it best. “Secular bull market remains very much alive, but 2016 could likely be bumpy.”