Shortly after reaching a new 52-week high, shares of St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) tumbled nearly 2% Wednesday after the company revealed a slight drop in fourth-quarter profit and a conservative outlook.

The medical-device maker posted net earnings of $206.4 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with $213.6 million, or 57 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, particularly related to litigation and acquisition costs, the company earned 75 cents a share, just ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 74 cents.

Revenue was $1.35 billion, up about 12% from $1.2 billion a year ago, narrowly beating the Street’s view of $1.32 billion.

Earnings were helped by across-the-board improvements in all of its business segments, with cardiac rhythm management, atrial fibrillation, neuromodulation and cardiovascular up 9%, 13%, 15% and 20%, respectively.

Dan Starks, the company’s chief executive, said fiscal 2010 was a “highly successful year” for St. Jude Medical, in spite of what he called several difficult macro-economic challenges.

“St. Jude Medical places high priority on returning to a position where we can deliver double-digit constant currency organic sales growth on a sustainable basis,” he said. “We are making good progress delivering on this goal as reflected by sales growth in the fourth-quarter based on a strong cycle of new products.”

The company is trying to widen its market share with de novo implants of ICDs, and is looking to add CardioMEMS technology to its CRM business.

St. Jude anticipates fiscal 2011 earnings to be in the range of $3.25 to $3.30 a share, representing improvement of roughly 8% to 10% from 2010. Full-year sales are expected to be between $5.67 billion and $5.83 billion.

Analysts are expecting earnings of $3.29 a share on revenue of $5.66 billion.