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5 Healthcare Stocks to Consider in 2012

The market outlook of the healthcare sector in 2012 is expected to grow . Therefore, one can invest in reliable companies which depict a promise of rewarding him with a good source of dividend income or with an increase in stock valuation or both. There are certain companies which can be termed as reliable and which would show significant upward trend in the current year, elaborated as follows.

Illumina (ILMN) is engaged in the manufacturing of medical equipments for analyzing genetic variations. The company is currently trading at around $52, within its 52-week range of $79 and $26. With earnings per share of around $0.62, and price earnings of approximately $84, the company has market capitalization of around $6 billion. The company has a target of reaching its 52-week high in 2012, whereas its earnings per share could increase to around $1. The company has a potential for growth, and by applying the multiples of 30 to its estimated earnings per share, it could still further increase in 2012. As the market leader in next-generation sequencing, the company continues to rule the market in targeted gene re=sequencing through entering into many large contractual agreements. The company's Omni 2.5 pilot projects are essential drivers for the future growth prospect of the company, as well as its revenue generation. In my opinion, the stock should be purchased at its current market price, with a long term perspective.

Novartis AG (NVS) is a prominent company within the healthcare sector, manufacturing drug related products on a global platform. The stock is currently trading at around $57, within its 52-week highs and lows of $65 and $52. The market capitalization of the company is around $137, while its price earnings are poised at around $15. With earnings per share of approximately $4, the company has a strong dividend yield of around 4.34%, with an average dividend rate of around $2.40 per share. The revenue growth of the company is around 17%, with its operating margin depicting an growth of around 22%. Novartis is a strong performer as a major drug manufacturer in the global arena. However, it is attractive as a stock delivering consistent dividend income. The company has a trailing price earnings ratio of around $13, while its forward price earnings is estimated to be around $10. The company maintains a payout ratio of around 47%. Most importantly, the company's wide array of well diversified products contributes to the company's performance growth, due to which its reliance on any single product is excluded. In my opinion, Novartis can be purchased at its current market price, with a long term perspective.

Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) is engaged in providing acute care medical needs through its research and development process. Currently trading at around $41.80, the stock is nearing its 52-week highs of $42.39. Its 52 week trading range was between $42.39 and $21.39 respectively. With earnings per share of around $0.52, its price earnings are poised at around $80. The market capitalization of the company is around $2.58 billion. As all the business activities in the company is of highly specialized nature, the company renders medical attention to provide standard treatment for acute diseases. Likewise, the company has only one marketed drug known as Cubicin, which is more or less a standard treatment for endocarditis market. Moreover, the company strives to implement expansion through acquisitions. It has successfully expanded its pipeline through acquisition of Calixa Therapeutics. In my opinion, the company's stock can be purchased at its current market price, with a long term perspective.

Unitedhealth Group (UNH) is engaged in rendering well being medical services to people with its wide array of services. The stock is currently trading at around $55, within its 52-week range of $55 and $41. The market capitalization of Unitedhealth Group, Inc. is around $57, with its price earnings seen to be around $12, while its earnings per share stand at around $5. The company has a dividend yield of around 1.18%, with an average dividend rate per share of 0.65. The company has consistently shown increase in net profits on year-on-year basis. From its net profit of $2.98 billion in 2008, the company has scaled up in depicting a net profit of $4.63 billion in 2010. With a price to book of approximately $2, and a forward price earnings estimate of around $9, a profit target of around 30% could be seen over and above its current price. The company has made strategic investments in health plans directed to the benefits of the consumer, due to which it is now well positioned on the platform of Medicare. The company enjoys a vast database of its customer membership, which is a renders it stable earnings. The company is financially strong, which can be seen from its balance sheet. Therefore, it has the financial freedom to enter varied areas of medical services, and even venture into mergers or acquisitions, if need arises. I would recommend buying this stock at its current market price, with a long term perspective.

Landauer (LDR) is engaged in rendering analytical and technical services in medical physics as well as radiation monitoring, to various hospitals, nuclear facilities, medical and dental offices. The current market price of the company is around $55, within its 52-week range of $69 and $44. With earnings per share of around $3, and price earnings of around $22, the company has market capitalization of around $519 million. Although not associated with directly providing health care services, the company significantly renders medical services to businesses and offices comprised in the healthcare sector. As a niche player in the space of scientific instruments, the company does not suffer from cut-throat competition. The company offers a healthy dividend yield of around 4%. Its revenue has shown a considerable increase from $59 million in 2002 to $120 million in 2011. Currently its stock is trading at price earnings multiples of around 22 times. I would recommend buying this stock at its current price level, with a medium to long term perspective.

About the author:

Dividend King
I am primarily an investor interested in creating passive income streams through dividends. I focus on finding and analyzing dividend paying stocks, MLPs and REITs that are a good fit for income investors.

I practice Judaism and my faith is very important to me. I visit family in Israel once a year, but I am educated and work in the United States where I hold an MBA and a bachelor’s in English. I am a patient man, enjoy wine but am not a connoisseur, and I listen more than I speak.

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