What happened

Healthcare giant Bausch Health (NYSE:BHC) outpaced a booming market last year as the stock jumped 62% compared to a 29% spike in the S&P 500 index, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The stock had been trailing the wider market as recently as October but rallied in the year's final weeks to post significant returns for shareholders.

Clinical researchers at work.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

That rally was sparked by third-quarter results that in early November showed surprisingly strong sales gains. Organic revenue rose 4% thanks to robust demand in both of Bausch's main operating niches. Management at the time cited success with established drug brands like Xifaxan and recent launches including Lumify and Thermage.

Now what

The biopharma specialist raised its 2019 outlook in November and now sees full-year sales surpassing $8.5 billion. Some investors see that win as just the start of what could be a long period of outperformance for this arguably attractively priced stock with a deep pipeline of drugs and consumer healthcare products. Yet the stock's rally last year raises expectations, and so Bausch will have to continue impressing Wall Street with solid growth across its portfolio.