Stocks for a Healthy Portfolio on World Health Day - Analyst Blog

Not many of us realize the importance of staying healthy until we fall sick. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been making great strides in spreading the awareness of physical wellbeing and sponsors the World Health Day on Apr 7.

We see this as a great opportunity to draw investors' attention to stocks that not only focus on health, but are in good shape themselves.

Shot in the Arm

A few dollars spent on vaccines ensure both health and wealth in the future. Vaccination is promoted as a key to public health across the globe. Per WHO, vaccination has considerably lowered the risk of infectious diseases globally. Thanks to increasing awareness, vaccines are never short of demand. The global vaccines market is expected to reach $57,885.4 million by 2019 from $33,140.6 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 11.8% from 2014 to 2019.

Adding a stable company such as Merck & Co.MRK , which has favorable a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and is likely to see an EPS growth rate of 7.12%, should immune investors' portfolio from risks. Merck is a trusted name in the vaccine market in which it enjoys a top position.

Food for Thought

If immunization is a preventive action, "healthy eating" is the first step to building health. This is where "organic food" plays a huge role. Holding the banners of safety and nutrition, the organic foods market in the U.S. has grown exponentially over the years. From 2000 to 2010, this industry grew at an average rate of 16.5% per year compared to 3.25% average annual growth in the overall food industry. The U.S. market provides sizeable opportunities for the expansion of the organic food industry.

Whole Foods Market Inc.WFM , an American foods supermarket chain specializing in organic food, has benefited largely on this boom. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has an impressive long-term EPS growth rate of 13.4%. Clearly, Whole Foods is a top choice of the health conscious Americans who was pesticide- and hormone-free food in their daily diet.

Fit Is Fine

Good eating habits should be coupled with exercise for a healthy life. Rising health concerns and awareness on the benefits of physical exercise have led to a surge in the demand for fitness equipment around the world. The global fitness equipment industry is forecast to grow with a CAGR of 3.5% over a five-year period (2013-2018) and reach an approximate $10.6 billion by 2018. The industry also looks to benefit from the health-aware baby boomers who are signing up for health club memberships.

Here, we cannot fail to mention Nautilus Inc.NLS , which is poised to benefit from the industry's growth. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a long-term EPS growth rate of 10.0% engages in activities include designing, developing, sourcing and marketing high-quality cardio and strength fitness products and related accessories for consumer use, primarily in the United States and Canada, and in international markets. It sells its products under some of the most-recognized brand names in the fitness industry.

An Apple a Day

Since eating right and hitting the gym are easier said than done, fitness apps for smartphones have been introduced to monitor an indivudual's health. Another notable app that aims at a healthy lifestyle is NHS' Stop Smoking.

The fitness fever is so high in America that even a technology prime like Apple Inc.AAPL could not avoid catching it. The iconic smartphone maker has introduced health and fitness tracking features in its latest iPhone 6.

The company's iPhone 6 includes the Health app and associated tool for developers called HealthKit. The software enables other health and fitness apps to share their data with the Health app and with each other. Apple carries a Zacks Rank # 1(Strong Buy) and has a long term expected EPS growth rate of 14%.

Technology companies' interest in health and wellness has sparked off a myriad of wearable devices, from fitness bands that monitor activity and sleep patterns to flexible patches that detect body temperature, heart rate and hydration level among others. Switzerland-based Soreon Research estimates that the market for wearable healthcare was worth $2 billion last year and expects it to grow 65% annually, to exceed $40 billion in 2020.

Bottom Line

From birth to the prime of life, health hazards prevail. Ways to manage health are constantly evolving, opening windows of growth opportunities in various industries. Each of the stocks mentioned above are uniquely poised for long-term rewards in their respective sectors and are worth adding to an investment portfolio.

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

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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