Get Growth And Income From A Stock That's Saving The World

By (Jay Peroni),

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I like the health care sector. Alot .

There is always a need for quality medicine and medical care, no matter how theeconomy is doing. And they hold defensivestocks that can weather ups and downs nicely.

As populations age in developed countries, health carewill gain in importance. And asemerging markets adopt modern medical practices, the use of low-cost, high-volume health care products will ramp up. The sector could face unprecedented demand.

In the health-care sector, one of my favorites is Covidien PLC ( COV ) . Of the 87 firms in the advanced medical equipment industry, it is among the 11 companies that pay adividend . 

The company develops, makes and sells medical devices, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Here are a few reasons why I love this stock:

1. Exciting products
Covidien has launched some great products: For example, the Sonicision, introduced in 2012, is an ultrasonic dissection device for surgical procedures.

Covidien has been expanding its product line through acquisitions and strategic collaborations. One successful launch has been the ADHD medication Concerta, which is expected to generate about $100 million insales thisyear . This product received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in December 2012. 

2. Robust growth
Covidien's steadyacquisition of companies has delivered solid growth in recent years.

In 2012, it acquired Maya Medical, Newport Corp., BARRX Medical, SuperDimension, Oridion Systems and MindFrame Inc. to expand its medical devices portfolio. It acquired CNS Therapeutics last year to expand its branded pharmaceuticals portfolio. The company also acquired CV Ingenuity to build its vascular segment. Collaborative and promotion agreements have also been signed.

3. Expected growth
As an example, Covidien is launching a study on bariatric procedures for treating Type 2 diabetes in patients with a body massindex less than 35, potentially affecting 5 million people.

4. Expanding markets
Emerging marketsoffer a sizable and rather underpenetrated marketplace for the company. 

Covidien is launching products in various emerging markets, notably in Asia and Latin America. The company's sales in the BRIC nations -- especially China and Brazil -- are growing at a healthy pace. It plans to double its current $1 billion inrevenue from emerging markets in the next five years, positioning it as a top medical instruments player in thatmarket . 

Take a look at thestock 's recent success since the beginning of 2012:

On Jan. 25, Covidien reported adjustedearnings per share of $1.10 for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, 3 cents lower than the same period the previous year. Itsnet income was flat year-over-year at $493 million ($1.03 per share) due to higher expenses, which dampened otherwise solid sales growth. First-quarter revenue increased 5% year-over-year to $3 billion, driven mainly by higher sales in the medical devices segment.Gross margin was down slightly in the 2012 fourth quarter -- from 58.8%year over year to 57.5% -- mainly due to unfavorablecurrency fluctuations.

The stock isundervalued . With a current price of $67.84, the stock should be trading for at least $75 per share -- compare its forward price-to-earnings (P/E ) ratio of 13.1 with the industry average of 25.2. Additionally, its operatingearnings yield of 6.3% ranks higher than two-thirds of all stocks. 

Covidien should see solid growth during the next three to five years. Its core device business should grow on average by at least 5% to 6% for the next five years. This should be fueled by its energy-based vascular devices, which can be expected to experience annual growth in the 10% to 12% range.

The stock has great momentum. On March 28, the stock closed at $67.84, which was just 0.2% below its52-week high and 35% above its52-week low .Shares are trading 6.3% above their50-day moving average of $63.80, as well as 16.1% above their200-day moving average of $58.41.

Covidien also has a healthybalance sheet and pays a solid dividend of 1.4%. Additionally, it buys back shares. Given its strongcash flow from operations, it should be able to maintain its currentcash position, allowing it to grow through acquisitions.

Risks to consider: Strong competitors like Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) and Applied Medical have cut intomarket share in its soft tissue, endomechanical and commoditized trocar product line. With the changing regulatory environment in the United States, R&D costs are expected to increase substantially to meet more stringent approval requirements.

Action to take --> Covidien is a good buy up to $75 a share. My 12- to 18-monthprice target is $100, representing a 30% rise from its current price. With a current dividend of 1.4%, this stock provides a great combination of growth and income.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks
Referenced Stocks: COV , JNJ

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