3 Top Health Care Stocks To Watch Right Now

As the stock market continues to show volatility, some investors may flock to more defensive stocks such as health care stocks. Admittedly, the current global pandemic does influence the sentiment around the health care sector. However, this is an industry that will always have demand no matter the circumstances. Take Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ: ALNY) recent financial report for example. The company reported a revenue of $662 million for the fiscal year 2021, an increase of 83% compared to the prior year. Now, Alnylam expects its product sales for the full year of 2022 to be up to $1 billion. So, despite still loss-making for the quarter, it does give us a picture that the demand for its products and services is still rising.  

Furthermore, the demand for COVID-19 related products is also not slowing down. With speculations of the need for more booster doses due to new variants, vaccine companies such as Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) will likely continue to benefit from the current predicament. We also saw Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announcing an agreement with the U.S. government to supply up to 600,000 doses of its investigation drug bebtelovimab. It appears that the government will accept the doses if it is granted an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. With all said and done, it is no surprise that many believe health care stocks could continue to grow. So, here are some of the top names in the stock market today.  

Health Care Stocks To Watch This Month

Vir Biotechnology 

Vir is a clinical-stage immunology company that focuses on the management of serious infectious diseases. As of now, it has four technology platforms focusing on antibodies, T-cells, innate immunity, and small interfering ribonucleic acid. Its development pipeline consists of product candidates targeting the COVID-19, hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and influenza A virus. It is no secret that VIR stock has been struggling over the past year. However, there are also reasons to believe that better days could be ahead for the company.  

For starters, Vir announced in January an expansion of its partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The continuous collaboration is to include the advancement of innovative platform technologies in the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies to provide a “vaccinal effect” for the treatment of HIV and the prevention of malaria. This vaccinal antibody concept is also currently being applied across its pipeline of potential product candidates. In addition, the company will utilize it to address other infectious diseases with high impact in low- and medium-income countries.  

On top of that, the company recently announced preclinical data that suggests its sotrovimab could retain neutralizing activity against the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron. For those unaware, this is an investigational monoclonal antibody developed in conjunction with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK). It appears that a 500mg dose of the drug would retain activity against the variant, just as it has against all other variants of concern. Given these latest developments, do you believe VIR stock could make a turnaround soon?  

VIR stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Ensign 

Another top health care company to note right now would be Ensign. Essentially, it engages in providing a range of skilled nursing and senior living services, physical, occupational, and other rehabilitative and health care services. Having approximately 248 health care facilities around the country, Ensign is one of the leading companies in what it does. Despite trading sideways for the majority of the past year, it has picked up some momentum recently, rising more than 7% over the past week.  

Ensign started the month by announcing the acquisition of two skilled nursing facilities in California. Firstly, there is the 119-bed skilled nursing facility located in San Bernardino, the Arrowhead Springs Healthcare. The other one would be the Desert Mountain Care Center, a 99-bed skilled nursing facility located in Indio. These additions to the company’s California operations will strengthen its local clusters. Not to mention, it will further enhance its ability to provide top-notch care to the patients it serves.  

Investors should also note that Ensign announced its fourth-quarter earnings report earlier this week. To say the least, it was an impressive quarter that met analysts’ expectations. The company’s GAAP diluted earnings per share for the quarter was $0.86, representing an increase of 4.9% year-over-year. Meanwhile, its adjusted earnings per share was a record $0.97, up by 21.3% year-over-year. Besides that, the company also provided an optimistic annual 2022 earnings guidance of $4.01 to $4.13 per diluted share. With that said, would you consider investing in ENSG stock? 

ENSG stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Envista 

Unlike the previous two entries, Envista is a dental products company. In detail, its products focus on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and ailments of teeth and the periodontium. It operates through two segments, Specialty Products & Technologies, and Equipment & Consumables. On one hand, its Specialty Products & Technologies segment develops, manufactures, and markets dental implant systems, dental prosthetics, and others. Meanwhile, the Equipment & Consumable segment specializes in dental equipment and supplies used in dental offices. This includes digital imaging systems, magnification systems, and other essentials in a dental office.  

Yesterday, Envista announced its fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 financial results. For the quarter, the company’s core sales grew by 6.6% year-over-year. Besides that, its adjusted net income was $81.1 million, representing an increase of 12% compared to the prior year’s quarter. Now, the company believes that it could deliver core growth of between 6-8% and deliver a full-year adjusted EBITDA margin of over 30% next year. Overall, Envista grew significantly above pre-pandemic levels and continues to show promise long-term. 

Not to mention, it also recently announced that it has renewed its partnership agreement with Vitaldent Group. The Spanish Dental Service Organization provides quality, accessible odontology to patients using the most advanced technology and professional care. The agreement reaffirms the commitment of Vitaldent’s network of clinics to provide the highest quality products and services in all treatments. Ultimately, it would make Envista the preferred supplier of implants and clear aligners in many markets around the world. All things considered, would you consider NVST stock a top health care stock to watch?

NVST stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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