Healthcare Business

Raymond James Top Health Care Picks Crushing S&P 500: 4 Stocks to Buy Now

The health care sector as a whole has been a top performer this year, and there is every reason to believe that strong performance will carry through to 2021. While most of the excitement has centered around the COVID-19 vaccine and a final FDA approval for both emergency and full population use, many other areas within the sector are also flourishing.


The top health care picks from the Raymond James team had an outstanding November, posting a 17.2% gain compared with the overall sector gain of 7.8%, which lagged the S&P 500’s gain for the month of 10.89%. The analysts noted this when discussing the firm’s strong results:

Year-to-date, our list is up +12.7%. The strong November performance puts it ~60 basis points ahead of the broader market and over 5% ahead of the healthcare sector. As a reminder, the healthcare sector is +7.4% year-to-date and the broader market is +12.1%.


We screened the Raymond James Top Picks list for the stocks that were rated Strong Buy, and we also looked for some of the more conservative ideas as the market is very overbought. It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals

This stock helped to drive the strong outperformance from the firm’s Top Picks list for November. Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD) is focused on the development of therapeutics to treat central nervous system disorders.

The company’s lead asset, Nuplazid (pimavanserin), has been approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease psychosis. Nuplazid is also in development for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis and schizophrenia negative symptoms. Acadia Pharmaceuticals also is developing an early-stage pipeline in acute and chronic pain and other central nervous system disorders.

The company reported that third-quarter Nuplazid sales came in at a very strong $120.6 million (10% growth quarter over quarter) as specialty pharmacy channels continue to see growth. In addition, ACP-044 (from CerSci) is expected to enter Phase 2 trials for acute and chronic pain in the first half of 2021.

Raymond James has set a $65 price objective for Acadia Pharmaceuticals stock. That compares with a Wall Street consensus target of $59.61, as well as Wednesday’s closing price of $54.73 per share.

CVS Health

This top stock gapped up in early November but has come back in and offers a much better entry point. CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) is one of the largest health care companies in the United States, providing retail, mail and specialty pharmacy dispensing services and pharmacy benefits. CVS has become one of the most vertically integrated publicly traded health care companies.

CVS serves employers, insurance companies, unions, government employee groups, health plans, prescription drug plans, Medicaid managed care plans, plans offered on public health insurance and private health insurance exchanges, other sponsors of health benefit plans and individuals. This segment operates retail specialty pharmacy stores and specialty mail order, mail order dispensing, and compounding pharmacies, as well as branches for infusion and enteral nutrition services.