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3 Healthcare Stocks to Watch for the Long Run

It’s no secret that healthcare stocks have been under pressure due to geopolitical uncertainty, increased government regulation, and ongoing pressure on drug companies to lower prices. Take a look at the Biotechnology ETF (IBB) and see how badly the sector is underperforming.

However, the greatest investment advice of all time comes from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. He advised investors to be greedy when others are fearful and to be fearful when others are greedy. In short, Buffett believes the best way to make money on Wall Street is to look for quality companies that have fallen on hard times.

Indeed, there are several “strong buy” stocks in the sector, which are set for significant gains in the coming months -- at least, according to Wall Street analysts. We turned to TipRanks’ Stock Screener to see which healthcare stocks these analysts believe have plenty of upside potential ahead. That’s according to the upside potential from the average analyst price target. Let’s see how that works out now:

Is HCA Healthcare Stock Setting Up for a Large Move Higher?

Ranked No. 67 in the 2019 Fortune 500 list as the largest United States corporations by total revenue, HCA Healthcare (HCA) manages approximately 2,000 care sites, including 184 hospitals, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, 119 freestanding surgery centers, and ER’s in the United States and United Kingdom.  

This September, HCA opened a new $10 million-dollar medical facility in Orlando, Florida; its third freestanding ER launch this year, bringing the company's net worth value to $43.24 billion. In addition, HCA has started construction in partnership with the University of Central Florida on a $175 million teaching hospital, The UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, set to open in fall 2020.

5-star Wolfe analyst Justin Lake believes that a "combination of significantly lower expectations and valuation leaves an increasingly interesting risk/reward." Despite near-term uncertainty about "general lack of visibility on mix/acuity and tough comps," the analyst sees "potential that 2Q results were simply white noise, similar to UHS 1Q19, which coupled w/modest cost cuts and extra biz day in qtr. leaves potential for 3Q rebound." Lake rates HCA a Buy with $141 price target, which implies about 22% upside from current levels. (To watch Lake's track record, click here)

Lake is not the only fan of the healthcare provider on Wall Street, as TipRanks analytics exhibit HCA as a Strong Buy. Based on six analysts polled by in the last three months, five rate HCA a Buy, while only one rates the stock a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $157.17, marking a 37% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

(See HCA's price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)

Zoetis Stock Still Has Gasoline Left in the Tank

With over 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis (ZTS) is what many believe to be the “go-to” developer and manufacturer of medicines, vaccines, biodevices, and diagnostic products for pets and livestock. The company sells its products in more than 100 countries worldwide and now boasts over 10,000 employees; virtually dominating the global animal health market.

Zoetis stock has been knocking it out of the ballpark so far this year, rising by a whopping 43%, and Wall Street analysts say there’s still some gas left in the tank.

5-star Stifel analyst Jonathan Block mentioned that the company's Q2 Animal Health survey showed how well ZTS’s product pipeline is doing, having him predict an upside on the company’s 2019-2022 revenue and ESP estimates. “The Triple”, feline pain, canine pain, and feline atopic dermatitis accounted for the vast majority of pharmaceutical product innovations that Veterinarians want, all of which Zoetis could or should bring into the market over the next 1-2+ years,” Block went on to say.

Block rates ZTS a 'buy' with $140 price target, which implies about 14% upside from current levels. (To watch Block's track record, click here)

TipRanks reveals the veterinary drug and vaccine maker as one drawing bullish attention on Wall Street. Out of 10 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 8 rate a Buy on AMD stock, 2 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $137.33, marking a nearly 12% upside potential from where the stock is currently trading.

(See ZTS's price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)

Is Alexion Stock Set to Jump Over 60%?

Alexion (ALXN) is a global biopharmaceutical company focusing on treatment for rare diseases through the discovery and development of advanced medical therapies. The company is best known for its development of $3 billion-a-year bestseller Soliris, a drug used to treat the rare disorders ‘atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome’ (aHUS) and ‘Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria’. Due to the high cost of Soliris and its niche nature, the company continues to reign undefeated in the rare diseases sector and sees high-profit margins year-over-year.

In addition, Alexion recently announced that it is replacing its CFO Paul Clancy with Aradhana Sarin, M.D., the company’s chief strategy and business officer. Sarin is responsible for $2 billion in recent pipeline acquisitions and has a strong M&A background. This shift into new leadership has analysts a little excited, one would say.

5-star RBC Capital analyst Kennen MacKay reiterated an Outperform rating (i.e. Buy) on ALXN stock, stating that he sees “Dr. Sarin as a strong successor given her prior position as Senior Vice President in Business and Corporate Strategy.”  Adding that Sarin “has led ALXN's business development efforts including what view as an impressive string of acquisitions and partnerships.”

All in all, Alexion stock has one of the best ratings by the Street. TipRanks reveals that ALXN has a Strong Buy analyst consensus rating with 12 'buy' ratings and only one 'hold' rating in the last three months. Meanwhile the average analyst price target of $163.30 suggests the stock has upside potential of nearly 66% from the current share price for the next 12 months. (See ALXN's price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)