The Shiller cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio, a measure of the valuation of the S&P 500, currently stands at nearly 40, by far the highest it has been for over a decade. That's one reason some analysts think a correction is overdue for the broader market. A downturn would be an excellent chance for opportunistic investors to scoop up shares of great stocks from the discount bin.
But you don't need to wait for a market crash to find solid companies whose shares have already been hammered. Teladoc Health (TDOC -0.08%) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -0.35%) are two top stocks that fit the bill. Let's consider why both are worth buying today.
Shares of telehealth specialist Teladoc soared last year as the company's business was ideally suited to thrive amid the pandemic. It's been a very different story this year. Since January 1, the healthcare giant has seen its stock drop by 32%. Some might argue that Teladoc rose too much too fast in 2020 -- and so in an arguably frothy market, it isn't surprising that it's been a tough year for the company. Whatever the case, telehealth is here to stay, and that's why Teladoc remains a buy.
In our increasingly digital world, patients will continue to seek the convenience that telehealth offers: basic consultations with physicians as well as prescriptions and referrals -- all from the comfort of one's home at any hour of the day. The telehealth market will continue expanding rapidly in the coming years, and Teladoc is one of the best ways to benefit. During the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, the company racked up 3.9 million visits, 37% higher than the year-ago period.
American Well, one of Teladoc's biggest rivals in the telehealth industry, recorded 1.4 million visits during the third quarter. That's less than half the number of visits Teladoc had in the period.
Teladoc's revenue also soared by 81% year over year to $522 million. The company expects 14 million visits in total this year, up from the 10.6 million it had last year.
Teladoc's number of visits will continue to grow as the company gains greater adoption among individuals and businesses, and that should help drive its top line higher as well. The company recently announced an agreement with Aetna, one of the nation's largest health insurers, which is owned by CVS Health. Teladoc will power Aetna's Virtual Primary Care, providing virtual-care services to its eligible members conveniently and cost-effectively.
Teladoc also benefits from at least one competitive edge, the network effect. As more physicians join its network, that will attract more customers. And as more consumers sign up for its services, that will lure more healthcare professionals. This dynamic should help Teladoc -- which currently has a network of more than 50,000 clinicians in more than 450 sub-specialties -- remain a leader in the telehealth industry despite rising competition.
That's why this top healthcare stock is still worth buying, especially given its recent woes in the stock market.
2. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Biotech giant Vertex Pharmaceuticals delivered an excellent performance during the third quarter. Revenue jumped 29% to $1.98 billion from the year-ago period while net income rose 28% to $852 million.
These results helped the company prove a point: while it has held a monopoly in drugs to treat the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis (CF) for the better part of a decade, the company still has room to grow in this space.
Vertex estimates that more than 30,000 CF patients who could benefit from its medicines aren't yet being treated out of the 83,000 in North America, Europe, and Australia. That shows that its current lineup of CF drugs will continue to drive top-line growth for the foreseeable future.
And the company plans to move beyond its current flagship products. Among several promising pipeline programs is VX-880, a potential therapy for type 1 diabetes. The company recently released some promising data from a phase 1/2 study for VX-880 although there's still a long road ahead for the medicine.
And there's CTX001, a gene-editing therapy it is developing with CRISPR Therapeutics, targeting patients with two rare blood-related disorders -- transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease -- both of which have few treatment options. CTX001 has already produced solid results in clinical trials, and management thinks it will be able to submit it for regulatory review by the end of 2022.
There are other programs in the company's pipeline as well, and together with its existing lineup, I am confident that Vertex can turn things around after performing poorly for the past year.