The scarcity of fresh water is rapidly emerging as a global economic threat that could disrupt businesses, crimp profits, and jeopardize growth. Companies, regulators, and investors are starting to react.
Employees in many industries have seized on the pandemic’s upheaval to score higher pay, better benefits, flexible schedules, and more. While some gains will fade, a number of economic and demographic forces suggest workers have the edge.
“To cash in on these long-term trends, we scoured the sector and found eight good opportunities. The stocks we like fall into three broad health care areas: drugmakers, health care service providers, and medical device and equipment manufacturers. Their share prices may continue to bounce around, especially as we near the 2020 elections. Smart investors will buy more when shares dip. “If you have flexibility and you can pick your spots, you can make money,” says Matt Benkendorf, chief investment officer at money management firm Vontobel Quality Growth.”
Merck (symbol MRK, price $83) is an elder statesman in the pharma world that should continue to thrive in the new order. Keytruda, Merck’s immunotherapy drug that basically gets the immune system to kill cancer cells, is “rapidly becoming one of the largest products we’ve ever seen,” says JPMorgan Chase analyst Christopher Thomas Schott.
Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX, $84) is expected to be profitable in 2020. It has two drugs on the market and a strong pipeline of therapies in all stages of development. One of its commercial drugs, Ingrezza, is a “best in class” therapy for tardive dyskinesia, a condition that causes jerky, involuntary face and body movements, says Credit Suisse’s Seigerman. He thinks it could fetch annual sales of $2 billion by the early 2020s.
CVS Health (CVS, $54) aims to give UnitedHealth a run for its money. It’s best known for its drugstores—70% of people in the U.S. live within three miles of a CVS pharmacy—but it operates more than 1,000 walk-in clinics, too. With its acquisition of Aetna in late 2018, CVS is now also an insurer.
After spinning off its drug division in 2013, Abbott Laboratories (ABT, $82) now focuses on a diverse roster of products that includes nutritional drinks, diagnostics, generic drugs and medical devices. But a trio of new products put it in the sweet spot of the health care sector’s innovation surge, says William Blair’s Golan.