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3 Large Cap Pharma Stocks to Buy Now

The healthcare sector has dominated headlines this year thanks to promises from the GOP and the Trump administration related to repealing and replacing Obamacare. A reform bill has already passed the House, and although it has stalled in the Senate, healthcare is sure to remain in the news for some time.

While investors might think that the uncertainty of this reform would bring volatility into the sector, we’ve actually seen healthcare stocks have a pretty decent year so far. In fact, our overall “Medical” sector is up about 11.9% year-to-date, which outpaces the gains of the S&P 500.

Within this broad sector, one of the better performing industries has been what we call “Large Cap Pharmaceuticals.” This industry includes some of the world’s largest and most recognizable drug making companies.

You can check out the full industry data at the industry page here, but it’s certainly worth noting that this group of businesses currently sit in the top 16% of the Zacks Industry Rank and has returned nearly 13% on the year.

We know that our best stocks are going to come from the best industries, so it’s clear that investors should be considering Large Cap Pharma stocks right now. But which companies are standing out? Let’s take a closer look.

1.       H. Lundbeck (HLUYY)

H. Lundbeck is an international pharmaceutical company engaged in the research, development, and sale of pharmaceuticals around the world. The company currently has products that target disorders like depression and anxiety, schizophrenia, insomnia, Huntington's, epilepsies, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Lundbeck is a great example of a large cap stock with solid, consistent growth. Based on our current consensus estimates, we expect sales growth of 8.6% and EPS growth of 30% this year. Next-year estimates call for sales to increase 4.5% and earnings to expand by 9.3%. This growth outpaces many of its large cap rivals, but the stock is also fundamentally sound. Indeed, its “B” grade for VGM underscores this fact and pairs well with its Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) position.

 

2.       Bayer AG (BAYRY)

Best known for its flagship product, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer AG is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of healthcare products. From consumer health products like Aspirin and Aleve to pharmaceuticals and animal health treatments, this German giant does a little bit of everything.

With sales and EPS growth both expected to be around 9% this fiscal year, Bayer is posting the same type of consistent expansion that one desire from a blue chip company. But this stock is also a value investor’s dream. With a solid P/E ratio of 14.13, as well as better-than-industry-average P/B, P/CF, and Earnings Yield figures, this stock has clearly earned its “A” for Value in our Style Scores system. Bayer is also sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

 

3.       AstraZeneca PLC (AZN)

AstraZeneca one of the five largest pharmaceutical companies in the world based on sales and is a therapeutic leader in cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, oncology, anesthesia including pain management, central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory products.

While this isn’t true of all large caps, AstraZeneca has a history of significantly outperforming earnings estimates, and it has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 143% in each of the trailing four quarters. We’ve also seen estimate revisions move its current EPS projections higher over the past 90 days, which has helped the stock earn a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

 

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Astrazeneca PLC (AZN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Bayer AG (BAYRY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
H Lundbeck A/S (HLUYY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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