MDT

Medtronic Stock: Buy, Sell, or Hold?

Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) is a leading global medical device company with a massive presence that spans more than 150 countries. Its products assist patients with over 70 different health conditions. Investing in the stock is a potentially great way to gain exposure to the healthcare industry as a whole.

Over the past five years, however, its shares have been a lackluster investment, falling by 8%. What should you do with Medtronic stock: buy, sell, or hold it?

Its growth rate has underwhelmed, but could it improve?

One of the reasons this hasn't been a terribly exciting stock to own is that it's been growing at a fairly slow rate. In five years, Medtronic has averaged quarterly revenue gains of just under 2%, which isn't going to attract many growth investors.

MDT Revenue (Quarterly YoY Growth) Chart

MDT Revenue (Quarterly YOY Growth) data by YCharts

In its most recent quarter, which ended on Jan. 26, Medtronic's revenue increased by 4.7% to $8.1 billion. And for its full fiscal 2024 (which ends this month), the company projects about a 5% uptick.

There is, however, hope that the growth rate could improve in the future. Medtronic serves an important need in the industry by helping patients with its devices. And it's always creating newer, more innovative products. One example is its GI Genius, which is an intelligent endoscopy system. It uses artificial intelligence to help detect colorectal polyps. The company estimates it could help up to 2.7 million patients each year.

With ongoing advancements and an expanding healthcare industry, there's room for Medtronic's growth rate to be higher than it has been in the past few years. It seems especially likely now that supply chain issues, which hindered in the company's operations in recent years, appear to no longer be a big problem moving forward.

Medtronic offers a growing dividend

What's also attractive for long-term investors is Medtronic's dividend. At 3.4%, the yield is more than double the S&P 500 average of 1.4% and can be an excellent source of recurring income for investors. The healthcare company has also been increasing it for decades. And over the past five years, it has risen by 28%.

MDT Dividend Chart

MDT Dividend data by YCharts

The company's payout ratio is a bit high at nearly 90% of earnings, but Medtronic is working on being leaner and more efficient; it is going to be exiting the ventilator product line, for example, which it says is "increasingly unprofitable."

The medical device specialist has also been making improvements to strengthen its margins and overall earnings. Assuming these efforts pay off, investors should see the payout ratio come down and be more sustainable in the future.

Is Medtronic's stock a buy today?

It's temping to look at Medtronic's track record and assume that it's been a slow-growing stock and that's where it's destined to be in the future. But COVID-19 massively disrupted the healthcare industry in recent years. Now that things are largely back to normal, a top medical device company like Medtronic should be in much better shape. It is focusing on improving its bottom line while at the same time still innovating and pursuing growth opportunities.

Trading at a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 15, which is based on analyst projections, the shares offer investors some solid value. Along with a high-yielding dividend, this could be an underrated stock to load up on right now and hang on to for the long haul. And if you already own it, it's definitely worth keeping, because there could be better days ahead for the stock.

Should you invest $1,000 in Medtronic right now?

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David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Medtronic. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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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