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Although it is helpful to search for companies that analysts are bullish on, it is also helpful to search for groups of analysts that are historically correct. If those analysts are bullish on a company, it is probably worthwhile to take a second look.

Using analyst ratings from Reuters that are presented on a linear scale (with 1 = "Strong Buy" and 5 = "Strong Sell"), we sliced the ratings data of stocks from the healthcare sector into three time periods separated by a month, and identified the groups of analysts that have shown predictive value, i.e. been able to accurately predict the direction of stock moves for two consecutive time periods.

We further narrowed down the list by only focusing on those stocks that have seen bullish trends in analyst opinion. In other words, predictive analysts, with a proven (short-term) track record of predicting their stock's direction, think these stocks are due for a rebound.

Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, the recent accuracy of these analyst ratings suggests their opinions may be a helpful starting-off point for your own analysis.

‪Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬



We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.



Do you think these stocks are due for a rebound? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by market cap.

1. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Develops, and delivers innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Market cap of $52.79B. Mean average rating changed from 2.55 to 2.42 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bullish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of 11.56%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2.42 to 2.39 (bullish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of 5.3% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2.39 to 2.3 between 08/21/11 and 09/20/11 (i.e. bullish change).

Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 4.26%, current ratio at 1.99, and quick ratio at 1.79. The stock has had a good month, gaining 10.34%.

2. Stryker Corp. (SYK): Operates as a medical technology company worldwide. Market cap of $18.34B. Mean average rating changed from 2.11 to 2.14 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bearish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of -6.41%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2.14 to 2.08 (bullish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of 3.54% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2.08 to 1.97 between 08/21/11 and 09/20/11 (i.e. bullish change).

3. Volcano Corporation (VOLC): Designs, develops, manufactures, and commercializes a suite of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and functional measurement (FM) products used in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular and structural heart disease. Market cap of $1.55B. Mean average rating changed from 1.93 to 2.06 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bearish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of -1.22%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2.06 to 2 (bullish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of 3.93% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2 to 1.94 between 08/21/11 and 09/20/11 (i.e. bullish change).

The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.13% (equivalent to 9.13 days of average volume). The stock has gained 23.75% over the last year.

4. DepoMed Inc. (DEPO): Develops and commercializes pharmaceutical products based on its proprietary oral drug delivery technologies in the United States. Market cap of $330.50M. Mean average rating changed from 2.25 to 2.67 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bearish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of -24.54%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2.67 to 2.5 (bullish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of 11.69% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2.5 to 2 between 08/21/11 and 09/20/11 (i.e. bullish change).

The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.78% (equivalent to 7.57 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.13% over the last week. The stock has had a good month, gaining 18.45%.

5. Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (PACB):
Develops, manufactures, and markets an integrated platform for genetic analysis. Market cap of $229.54M. Mean average rating changed from 2.25 to 2.38 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bearish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of -36.19%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2.38 to 2.5 (bearish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of -10.1% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2.5 to 2.43 between 08/21/11 and 09/20/11 (i.e. bullish change).

The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.33% (equivalent to 9.18 days of average volume). The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 30.84% below its SMA20, 46.17% below its SMA50, and 64.88% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 28.93% over the last week.

6. Gentiva Health Services Inc. (GTIV): Provides home health services and hospice care in the United States. Market cap of $172.33M. Mean average rating changed from 1.86 to 2 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bearish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of -49.46%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2 to 2.5 (bearish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of -13.67% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2.5 to 2.25 between 08/21/11 and 09/20/11 (i.e. bullish change).

The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 20.91% below its SMA20, 47.92% below its SMA50, and 73.91% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 21.91% over the last week.

7. Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. (SKH): Operates skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospices, home health providers, and a rehabilitation therapy business. Market cap of $141.81M. Mean average rating changed from 2.33 to 2.57 between 06/22/11 and 07/22/11 (bearish change). Analysts correctly predicted the direction of the stock over the next month, with the stock generating an alpha of -33%.

Analysts also got it right between 07/22/11 and 08/21/11, with the mean rating changing from 2.57 to 2.8 (bearish change). Over the following month, the stock generated an alpha of -16.77% relative to the S&P 500 index, as predicted by the analysts.

This same group of analysts now expect the stock to outperform in the future, with the mean rating changing from 2.8 to 2.73 between 01/27/03 and 04/16/03 (i.e. bullish change).

The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 22.14% below its SMA20, 38.88% below its SMA50, and 63.8% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 17.29% over the last week.

*Analyst ratings sourced from Reuters, price data sourced from Yahoo! Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 7 Healthcare Stocks Predictive Analysts Expect To Outperform