By Scott A. Mathews, Guest Editor
Whether we’re talking pharmaceuticals, instruments, R&D or policy, we know one eternal truth about healthcare: we need it. How about a second truth? The older we get the more we need it.
Take a look at population curves throughout the developed world and you’ll see a slowly rising behemoth of a wave. Add to that increasing incomes in developing countries where populations remain relatively young and you see the second and third waves of demand lapping in behind to support demand for everything the healthcare industry makes.
What is another eternal truth we, as investors, know? When we retire, we’re going to need something to live on. That’s why today we’re providing a double whammy for the "golden years" — high yielding pharmaceutical stocks that will improve your golden years’ physical and fiscal health. The following stocks are almost certainly all household names. They also happen to all offer healthy dividends all above 4% ...
AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN): Not only has AstraZeneca garnered good press in recent years for its generous support of low income Americans during the recession, it continues to be a powerhouse in the pharmaceutical world generating 33 billion in sales last year. Despite some set-backs in recent weeks AstraZeneca is set to continue to do as its peers have done and shorten development pipelines by acquiring cash starved bio-techs with promising research under way. Yields 5.2%. These are just some of the reasons we think this is a pharma stock Buffett might buy.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY): Cowen & Company just upgraded BMS to outperform while it gets another vote of confidence from the Kahn Brothers Group which recently disclosed that BMS numbered amongst its largest holdings in 2010. Yielding 5.2% and with the weight of Wall Street’s most “Golden” value investor and analyst (Chairman, Irving Graham was born in 1905) Bristol-Myers Squib promises steady and dependable yields and returns. Yields 5.2%
Eli Lilly & Co (NYSE:LLY): With an industry-high dividend Eli Lilly can reassure the most stalwart critics of its recent pace of R&D. However, dividends alone certainly don’t justify a buy and the leadership at Eli Lilly has shown us just that, leadership. Showing that it is being proactive in turning the R&D ship around, and quickly, a new head of cancer drugs was appointed in the past few days. The responsiveness of management to correct course, tremendous dividend yield and the fact that it is trading at a relatively low level make Eli Lilly a good bet over the next few years. Yields 5.7%
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) is yielding a very healthy 5.3% and was recently upgraded by Jefferies to a buy. With almost $4 billion in cash on hand, GSK has more than enough gun powder to get involved with new biotech partnerships and shorten its development cycle. And as we outlined here, GSK is a great inflation-proof blue chip for 2011.
Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK) UBS and Deutsche Bank both can’t say enough good things, both upgrading to buy with targets set between 20-25% above current trading prices. Merck also gets the Kahn Brothers’ stamp of approval moving out of 2010 and into another promising year for the drug maker. Yields 4.6%.
Novartis (NYSE:NVS): Another Buffett friendly pharma name, this Swiss drug maker has been on a tear this past year. With earnings per share this year expected to grow by another 15% and 5 year EPS forecast of 7%, revenue seems to strongly support the healthy dividends provided by our dear friends in Schweitz. 4.6% yield.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE): The only other pharma company to get the Kahn Brothers’ vote last year, Pfizer continues to engage with some of the most promising biotech companies out there. Just recently Pfizer inked a deal with Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN), which seems ready to heat up. While we wait, it will continue to provide investors with a reassuring dividend income. Yield is 4.2%.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.