5 High-Yield Healthcare Stocks Now On Sale

Includes: ABT, LLY, MRK, PFE, TEVA
by: Stock Croc

While political fortunes will be determined this November in the United States, flattening the costs of healthcare will continue to be a priority no matter which political party ultimately gains control. This political reality can spell returns for investors who look for companies that make the most of the prevailing health policy. Here are five pharmaceuticals offering yields in the new year.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA)

This generic pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Israel has a current dividend yield of 1.6%, and is relatively cheap compared with specialty generic manufacturer Watson (WPI). With a P/E of just over 13, TEVA presents a better value than WPI, which trades at 42 times earnings. Also, TEVA is priced better than Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), which is trading just off its 52-week high.

A closer look at TEVA reveals a troubling quarterly revenue growth year over year of negative 12 percent versus WPI's positive growth. However, WPI is a smaller company offering no dividend and is specialty generic manufacturer, which makes WPI relatively more vulnerable to new non-pharmaceutical treatments. There is some discussion that TEVA would be a stock that Warren Buffett would be interested in given its five-year earnings growth. However, given an expiring patent on Copaxone, which represents one-quarter of its revenue, TEVA will need to look to expand its revenue going forward. While the implementation of the new healthcare law in the United States would call for cutting costs using generics, which may benefit TEVA, those looking for dividend income might consider other pharmaceuticals.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)

Abbott trades relatively more expensive than competitors Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) and Sanofi (NYSE:SNY), but unlike RHHBY, it offers a dividend, and unlike SNY has 5.12 cash per share versus SNY's 3.18. While this may be some comfort for those evaluating the continued dividend paying ability of ABT, it may also signal that ABT has cash that is it does not know how to deploy in R&D or acquisitions.

SNY manages to squeeze 32% more net income despite it having a market cap of only 9% greater than ABT. SNY also offers comparable quarterly revenue growth, a lower P/E, and nearly identical operating margin. SNY also offers a very slightly better dividend yield of 3.7% compared with ABT's 3.5%, and is also trading cheaper relative to competitors Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and Lilly (NYSE:LLY). Consequentially, SNY is a better all-around value relative to ABT.

Eli Lilly and Company

LLY pays a generous 4.9% dividend and trades at a cheap 9.5 times earnings. Further bolstering its value credentials is a negative expected five year price-to-earnings growth. As mentioned earlier, LLY trades cheaper than competitors ABT and BMY.

LLY's relatively high dividend of 4.9% for big pharmaceutical is consistent with its five-year dividend average of 4.4%. LLY has reached a level of market maturity where consistent, yet modest returns might be expected in the future. While the demand for brand-name pharmaceuticals may be reduced by the cost-cutting goals of the new U.S. healthcare law, medicine will still turn to these companies to develop new treatments and it appears that they will still enjoy patent protection under current law.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)

PFE offers a 4% dividend yield, which is lower than its five-year average of offering 4.7%. It sells at 15 times earnings, which is relatively more attractive to Bayer's (BRYRY.PK) 22 and Merck's (NYSE:MRK) 15, but is more expensive than Novaris (NYSE:NVS), which sports a P/E of 13. Not only is NVS relatively cheaper than PFE, it manages a similar net income despite a lower market capitalization and is trading near its 52-week low.

While NVS offers a lower dividend yield versus PFE, it does offer a lower Price to Earnings Growth, which is an encouraging price metric going forward. It is true that NVS is losing its Diovan patent, PFE is in a similar predicament when it lost its Lipitor patent late last year. Recent headlines have highlighted NVS laying off employees, however this represents a trend among big pharma. While PFE is relatively cheap compared with its domestic competitors, investors should give serious consideration to NVS as an alternative.

Merck and Company

Merck currently has a 4.4% dividend yield, which is refreshingly higher than its 3.9% five-year average. However, it sells at 28 times earnings, making it more expensive than direct competitors BAYRY.PK and PFE, but cheaper than British competitor Glaxo-Smith-Kline (NYSE:GSK), which is selling at 44 times earnings. While GSK has a strong balance sheet, its asthma drug Advair is losing market share, which will be an impediment to earnings in the short run.

However, Merck has its own problems with its asthma product, as it has lost patent protection on Singulair, but has a bevy of new developments. This means that, in my opinion, it could be time to take profits and move on. While BAYRY.PK offers nothing to investors seeking dividends, it does have a flatter five-year expected price-to-earnings growth. Similarly, while relatively more expensive, GSK offers a lower expected PEG, with the advantage of a 4.9% dividend yield. For all of MRK's direct competitors, expiring patents will always be a challenge for brand-name pharmaceutical firms, which makes deep investments in R & D essential to continued revenue growth.

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

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