3 Blue-Chip Healthcare Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever: January 2024

Stocks to buy

Blue-chip healthcare stocks tend to be among the top portfolio picks for long-term investors today. Though their blue-chip status implies maturity, which they have, it also implies that the companies have limited growth prospects. That’s far from the case for the best blue-chip healthcare stocks today.

Healthcare and MedTech are emerging, changing and innovative stock sectors. Healthcare advancements march unabated even as cash and regulatory limitations cut down on acceleration in other domains like artificial intelligence (AI). Instead, healthcare innovation proceeds rapidly as it races to catch up to an aging population with ever-longer lifespans.

That’s why finding the best blue-chip healthcare stocks is a matter of picking those with market legitimacy, a proven product and long-term growth outlooks. While you could generate greater returns through riskier plays in biotech or other emergent MedTech sectors, these blue-chip healthcare stocks help balance the equation.

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)

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Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), a leading healthcare industry player, capitalizes on the growing trend of using robotics in surgical procedures. Standing out from other small-cap healthcare stocks, ISRG has established itself as a reliable company, listed on both the NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500, which cements its market position.

Analysts overwhelmingly favor the stock despite its relative overvaluation. Of 23 analysts, 18 rate it a buy, showing strong confidence in its potential despite a high price. Interestingly, no analyst recommends selling the stock, and the remaining five advise holding it.

The most recent quarter showcases encouraging trends for ISRG, signaling strong growth prospects. Procedures using ISRG’s surgical robotics platform have risen by 19%, showing a 17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) since 2019. Revenue and income have also seen significant growth, with increases of 12% and 29%, respectively.

For those seeking top blue-chip healthcare stocks to buy and hold, anchoring a portfolio with a reliable yet innovative firm like ISRG represents a healthy investment strategy.

Medtronic (MDT)

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Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) offers the best mix of stability and growth opportunities, in my opinion. Healthcare investing can be tricky when it comes to pharma, biotech, and the like. However, medical device companies tend to be more easily understood by retail investors and, in turn, tend to be the most representative among blue-chip healthcare stocks. Medtronic, a standout blue-chip healthcare stock and member of the dividend aristocrats, is well-positioned for healthcare’s future.

This sentiment becomes clear with Medtronic’s collaboration with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) to develop an AI-powered diagnostic platform. But that’s just the beginning. Earlier this month, CEO Geoff Martha told conference attendees that Medtronic uses AI for clinical decision support, creates new indications, and delivers personalized treatments, positioning it uniquely to advance AI in MedTech.

Medtronic’s total yield currently stands at 3.39%, mostly from dividends—a hallmark of blue-chip healthcare stocks. The company, gearing up for a late February earnings report, is positioned to exceed analyst expectations if the last filing is any indication.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN)

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) consistently achieves victories as a biotech stock, making it unique as it is also inarguably among the top blue-chip healthcare stocks. Over the past five years, the company’s stock has maintained a solid trajectory, even in economic turmoil, boasting an impressively low beta of just 0.16, a notable feat for any stock, let alone a biotech firm.

A recent triumph for Regeneron came with the FDA’s August 2023 approval of a high-dosage variant of its eye disease therapeutic, Eylea. This high-dose treatment enhances Regeneron’s competitive edge and positions the product effectively against Medicare price negotiations that impact REGN’s profits.

However, Regeneron’s future prospects extend beyond Eylea. The company’s flagship drug, Dupixent, primarily treats asthma and eczema, but it’s also making headway in Phase 3 trials for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Initial results show a 34% symptom reduction with Dupixent. As a top seller, analysts anticipate Dupixent’s successful application for COPD could spike sales to $20 billion annually.

A broader view of Regeneron’s pipeline reveals its focus on key sectors that draw investors to biotech, including monoclonal antibody therapeutics, gene therapy and gene editing platforms—the pinnacle of biotech investment opportunities.

On the date of publication, Jeremy Flint held no positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Jeremy Flint, an MBA graduate and skilled finance writer, excels in content strategy for wealth managers and investment funds. Passionate about simplifying complex market concepts, he focuses on fixed-income investing, alternative investments, economic analysis, and the oil, gas, and utilities sectors. Jeremy’s work can also be found at www.jeremyflint.work.

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