Merrill Lynch Top Health Care Stock Picks for September: Focus on Large Cap Biotech

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Listed in the Merrill Lynch U.S. High Quality & Dividend Yield Screen is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), and it has been on that list since 2013. The company’s stock price keeps going up (currently $132.63) and it keeps raising its dividends and delivering on earnings. Its yield is 2.54% now but is far higher for those who have held for years. The firm has a Neutral rating on the stock, but its price objective of $141 is more than $4 above the consensus analyst target.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) was added to the US 1 List on May 9, 2017. It traded at a $172.12 price at that time, and its shares were at $191.63 ahead of the RIC report cut-off date. With the share price at about $194 now, the Merrill Lynch rating is Buy and the price objective is up at $220. The firm even noted that Amazon faces hurdles in lab supply market while Thermo Fisher is well-positioned.

Three more picks were in the Small Cap US Buy List, its Endeavor list. These were listed below.

Catalent Inc. (NYSE: CTLT) was trading at $40.35 ahead of the RIC Report, and it is valued at about $5.1 billion. Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating, and the firm raised its price objective on the shares to $40 at the end of August.

Charles River Labs International Inc. (NYSE: CRL) was at $108.18 ahead of the RIC Report. Its market cap is about $5.2 billion. Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating and a $117 price objective on the stock.

Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HRC) was at $77.72 ahead of the report, with a $5.1 billion market cap. Hill-Rom is rated as Buy at Merrill Lynch with an $88 price objective.

Merrill Lynch also had some international picks for health care dividends. Each of these came with American depositary shares (ADSs) as seen below, and the price objectives have been converted to dollars as of the firm’s latest research reports on each company.

AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) is listed among its top International Low Volatility & Dividend Yield Screen. The U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant has an $81 billion market value and an implied 4.6% yield. Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating, and its price objective was last seen at about $38.46 when converted to dollars. AstraZeneca shares were trading at $33.42 on last look.

Novartis A.G. (NYSE: NVS) was listed as having a $195 billion market value, with a 3.2% dividend yield. Merrill Lynch only has a Neutral rating on Novartis, but its ADS price of $85.72 compares with the firm’s implied price objective of $89.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) has a $116 billion value and a 3.3% gross implied yield. With its shares at $48.83 now, Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating and its last official dollar-converted price objective was roughly $57 for the ADSs.