The past eight months have been a roller-coaster ride for investors. Between the rapid spread of COVID-19, the stay-at-home orders imposed by many governments in an effort to "flatten the curve" of infection, and the ensuing economic consequences of the pandemic, the stock market has been choppy, to say the least.

That said, one sector that seems to be doing better than most -- even given recent pullbacks -- is technology. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is up by 26.1% year to date, compared with gains of 6.1% for the S&P 500; meanwhile, the Dow Jones is down by 1.6% over the same period.

Tech titan Apple (AAPL 0.42%) has been riding this wave, and shares of the iPhone maker are up by 54% since the year started. However, with a market cap (the total value of a company's outstanding shares) of $2.1 trillion and a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 34, Apple's valuation seems a bit rich. For those looking for better value propositions, here are two stocks that are worth buying: Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY 2.11%) and Gilead Sciences (GILD 1.61%). Let's see why both of these healthcare giants are strong stock picks. 


Market Cap

Forward P/E Ratio

Price-to-Earnings Growth Ratio (PEG)

Price-to-Book Value Ratio


$2.1 trillion




Bristol Myers Squibb

$136.2 billion




Gilead Sciences

$83.1 billion




Source: YCharts 

1. Bristol Myers Squibb 

Pharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb hasn't performed well of late, with its shares down by 6.6% year to date. But there are good reasons to think the company can turn things around.

First, thanks to a strong lineup of drugs (including three blockbuster products), Bristol Myers Squibb can continue to generate healthy revenue and cash flow. During its second quarter, which ended June 30, the company reported revenue of $10.1 billion, 61% higher than the prior-year quarter.

It's important to note that the drugmaker benefited greatly from its Nov. 20 acquisition of biopharmaceutical company Celgene in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $74 billion.This inflated second-quarter revenue, meaning it's not really comparable to the prior year. Still, the company's top products do continue to make headway, which bodes well for its prospects.

Cancer drug Remlivid, which Bristol Myers Squibb acquired in the Celgene deal, generated revenue of $2.9 billion during the quarter, representing a year-over-year increase of 6% on a pro forma basis (that is, assuming the acquisition of Celgene had happened on Jan. 1, 2019). Also, revenue from anticoagulant Eliquis came in at $2.2 billion, 6% higher than the year-ago period.

Doctor putting money in his front pocket.

Image source: Getty Images.

Opdivo, another cancer drug, generated $1.7 billion in sales, and while that represented a 9% decrease year over year, Opdivo is still undergoing more than a dozen clinical trials. The company will likely add new indications for this medicine as time goes by. There are also more than 50 clinical compounds currently in development at Bristol Myers Squibb, meaning its rich lineup will likely continue to expand.

Bristol Myers did record a GAAP net loss per share of $0.04 during the second quarter, compared with earnings per share (EPS) of $0.87 during the year-ago period. But that was mostly because of one-time non-cash expenses related to the acquisition of Celgene. The company's non-GAAP (adjusted) EPS was $1.63, a 38% year-over-year increase. Bristol Myers's lineup and pipeline will continue powering strong financial results, and given an attractive forward P/E of 9.6 and a minuscule PEG ratio of 0.05, I think the company is a buy right now. 

2. Gilead Sciences

After a strong showing during the first quarter of the year, Gilead Sciences hasn't been doing as well over the past four months. Since May 1, the company's shares are down by 17%, while the S&P 500 is up by 21% over the same period. Further, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently made things worse for Gilead Sciences by rejecting the company's application for filgotinib, a potential blockbuster treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

GILD Chart

GILD data by YCharts

Can Gilead Sciences recover? I believe so, especially given its strong human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) business. During the second quarter, which ended June 30, the company's HIV segment recorded sales of $4 billion, a mere 1% decrease over the previous year despite the effects of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Gilead Sciences's Biktarvy is currently the top-prescribed HIV drug in the U.S. and several European countries (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the U.K.).

Also, the pharma giant estimates that as of this month, about 40% to 45% of patients taking some form of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medicine in the U.S. will be on Descovy, which it owns. This market is ripe for growth, too, with an estimated 243,000 U.S. patients currently taking HIV PrEP drugs out of the 1.1 million who could benefit from them. Gilead Sciences could capture a sizable share of this market.

There's also Gilead's COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, now known as Veklury. The FDA granted emergency use authorization for it back in May, and regulatory authorities in Japan and the European Union also gave the green light to the drug in May and July, respectively. Management expects to sell between 1 million and 1.5 million treatment courses of Veklury by the end of the year.

Lastly, with more than two dozen ongoing clinical trials, the drugmaker will be able to find new sources of revenue. And it's on sale, with a forward P/E of just 9.4 and a PEG ratio of 0.14. Investors would do well to add shares of this pharma stock to their portfolios.