Health care remains a political hot button. Despite the Affordable Care Act, there remains a push and pull in the industry over which companies can survive and which ones can thrive in the decade ahead. Goldman Sachs believes that several companies can win, and it has three top health care picks for 2020.
Investors should know that politicians running for office usually have big claims and big forecasts, but actual change is often guided by industry outreach, lobbyists, consumer rights groups and perhaps even by common sense. Goldman Sachs admits that the calls will seem counterintuitive heading into an election year, but the firm’s analyst Asad Haider sees sector valuations being quite low.
Also noted was that biotech innovation remains strong and the chances of a Medicare for All plan look lower. Major legislation against pharmaceuticals on drug prices and industry practices now seems very unlikely as well.
There are three Buy ratings from Goldman Sachs in the theme that changes will be “evolutionary rather than revolutionary” ahead. For a reference, note that the Goldman Sachs strategy team has a 3,400 target in 2020 for the S&P 500, and that is higher than consensus. Its target also just calls for upside of about 6.6% for the broader market next year, now that stocks have risen to all-time highs.
24/7 Wall St. has added additional color for a summary of each call, and we have compared the Goldman Sachs target prices to the consensus analyst target prices from Refinitiv. Most new and reiterated Buy/Outperform rated calls are coming with 8% to 10% implied total return (gains plus dividends) at this stage in the decade-old bull market.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) was reiterated as Buy with a $270 target price (versus a $236.74 prior close) at Goldman Sachs. The recent purchase of Otezla for psoriasis is expected to boost revenues and earnings. The company’s projected growth rate is now above average for the sector, at a time when its valuations and multiples are in line with the sector.
The firm’s $270 target price is 14% above Friday’s closing price of $236.74, and it’s handily above the consensus target price of $227.32. Amgen comes with a 2.7% dividend yield that now rivals many of the large big pharmaceutical stocks.
Dentsply Sirona Inc. (NASDAQ: XRAY) was reiterated as Buy with a $66 target price in the Goldman Sachs note. Its intraoral scanner Primescan is seeing strong demand, as it also expands availability in new geographies and as it considers running additional upgrade programs.
The $66 target price here is 17% higher than the $56.38 prior closing price, and it compares to a consensus target price of $62.27. The dividend yield is just 0.7%.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) may seem odd considering that it is the nation’s largest health insurance provider for companies in the United States. UnitedHealth was reiterated as Buy with a $330 target price, and Goldman Sachs added it to the prized Conviction Buy List as well. The firm sees solid earnings growth near term and long term at a time when its valuations are at a slight discount to historic norms.
The $330 target price from Goldman Sachs is 15.6% higher than the $285.48 prior close, and the stock comes with a 1.5% dividend yield. Shares hit an all-time high of $291.57 after this call.