The benchmark S&P 500 index has risen more than 17% this year, and summer isn't even finished yet. After such a big run-up, you might be thinking this isn't a good time to go shopping for stocks.
In fact, it's always a good time to buy stocks. You just need to buy the right ones. For just $200 or less, you can buy a share of any one of these top healthcare stocks.
Here's why they could make a great addition to your portfolio.
Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 0.33%) have been trading at around $197, making it the most expensive stock on this list at the moment. An ability to turn a progressive and fatal disease into a manageable condition makes it well worth your consideration.
There are hundreds of known genetic mutations to the CFTR gene that can lead to cystic fibrosis (CF). Vertex Pharmaceuticals is the only company that markets treatments that correct them. This allows the lungs to produce mucus that can flow out of the way when patients cough, instead of sticking around and slowly suffocating them.
In 2012 Vertex launched its first CF treatment, Kalydeco, which can help just a sliver of the overall CF population. Trikafta, which the company launched in 2019, is a three-drug combination therapy that raises the percentage of CF patients capable of benefiting from Vertex products to around 90% overall. The company isn't going to stop at just cystic fibrosis, and expansion to new diseases could give the biotech plenty of room to grow.
Sales of its CF drugs climbed 18% year over year in the second quarter to $1.8 billion, which creates a lot of opportunities to expand. For example, the company recently gave CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP -0.86%) $900 million up front in order to lead the development of CTX001, a promising experimental treatment for sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. Shortly after expanding their collaboration, the partners shared compelling evidence of long-term efficacy for the first 22 patients treated.
Johnson & Johnson
Investors with just $174 to spare can buy a share of this perennial favorite. As the world's largest healthcare-focused conglomerate, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.70%) probably isn't going to grow at an eye-popping pace. If the past 60 years have been any indication, though, we can reasonably expect a steadily growing stock price and quarterly dividends that rise year after year.
It's been over a century since Johnson & Johnson started making regular dividend payments, and JFK was in office the last time the company went a whole year without raising the dividend at least once.
The second quarter of 2020 was one that J&J would like to forget, but subsidiaries that were hit hard by COVID-related lockdowns have bounced back stronger than ever. Revenue from the company's medical device segment, which relies heavily on patient-physician interaction, jumped 63% year over year to around $7 billion.
Pharmaceutical sales, which are responsible for a majority of the company's total revenue, stayed strong through the early stages of the ongoing pandemic. Second-quarter sales of the company's COVID vaccine were insignificant at just $164 million, but pharma sales overall soared 17% year over year to a staggering $12.6 billion.
Johnson & Johnson's resilient revenue streams currently support a dividend with a 2.4% yield. With all its operating segments on solid ground, investors can look forward to plenty of payout bumps ahead.
Shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT -0.37%) have been trading at just $123, making it the least expensive option on this list. This top healthcare stock has benefited immensely from swift action taken at the beginning of the pandemic to develop COVID diagnostic products.
Coronavirus diagnostics sales helped push total revenue for this healthcare conglomerate about 39% higher in the second quarter compared to the prior-year period. Hopefully, demand for coronavirus testing will subside, but Abbott shareholders can still expect gains. If we exclude the $1.3 billion that it reported in COVID testing revenue, underlying sales grew 12% year over year.
Sales of Abbott's FreeStyle Libre brand of continuous glucose monitors soared about 53% year over year to $904 million in the second quarter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 million Americans have diabetes and another 88 million have pre-diabetes.
Diagnostic revenue growth will probably subside over the next year, but glucose monitor sales could push this stock into the clouds. Abbott and the two other stocks here have what it takes to push your portfolio higher. Just remember to hang on for the long run.