I loathe broccoli. But my family loves it. Different people have different preferences when it comes to food. It's a similar story with investing. Some stocks that appeal to younger investors won't appeal to retired investors -- and vice versa.
We asked three Motley Fool contributors to weigh in on pharmaceutical stocks that they think retired investors should love. Here's why they picked AbbVie (ABBV -0.73%), Gilead Sciences (GILD -0.55%), and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK 0.03%).
Checking off all the boxes
Keith Speights (AbbVie): What do retired investors want from a stock? Attractive dividends are high on the list for most people. Retirees also don't want the stock to lose a lot of its valuation. Therefore, the underlying business must be strong. And the valuation shouldn't be exorbitant. I think that AbbVie checks off all these boxes.
The company's dividend currently yields close to 3.9%. You can expect the dividend to grow in the future. AbbVie is a Dividend Aristocrat that has increased its dividend by over 250% since its spin-off from Abbott Labs in 2013.
Some might wonder how strong AbbVie's business is now, though. Humira, the company's top-selling product, loses U.S. exclusivity next year. Anticipated sales declines for the autoimmune disease drug will certainly hurt AbbVie.
However, the company expects to quickly return to growth after a temporary lull. AbbVie especially looks for tremendous momentum from Humira's two successors, Rinvoq and Skyrizi.
As for valuation, AbbVie is one of the cheapest pharma stocks around. Its shares trade at only a little over 10 times expected earnings. The effect of Humira's coming U.S. loss of exclusivity is already baked into AbbVie's share price.
Slow and steady wins the race
Prosper Junior Bakiny (Gilead Sciences): Retired investors often look for undervalued blue-chip companies with stable business and high dividend yields. Biotech giant Gilead Sciences fits that description pretty well. Although the company has faced headwinds in the past couple of years, lifesaving medicines will always be in high demand. Gilead Sciences has a long and impressive history of developing novel drugs.
The company is one of the leaders in the market for HIV medicines. Gilead Sciences' Biktarvy remains the top prescribed HIV drug in the U.S., with a 42% share of the market. Biktarvy's market share grew by 5% in 2021. Descovy controls a 45% share of the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) market in the U.S.
Gilead's HIV portfolio has struggled with patient starts because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has helped keep the biotech's revenue and earnings afloat. What's more, the company is hoping to add new products to this lineup soon. Most notably, Gilead awaits regulatory approval for a potential six-month, long-acting HIV regimen called lenacapavir. This treatment could easily reach blockbuster status.
If approved later this year, lenacapavir will become the first HIV therapy administered every six months. Investors can expect it to pull serious market share away from competitors. The drug should help Gilead Sciences decrease its exposure to Veklury, a leading COVID-19 therapy that has been highly successful since the early days of the pandemic. It isn't clear how much longer Veklury will significantly contribute to Gilead's top line.
Gilead Sciences should be just fine over the long run thanks to lenacapavir and its loaded pipeline. The company currently offers a dividend yield of 4.7%, well above the S&P 500's average of 1.3%. And with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of just 9.2, compared to the industry's average of 10.9, Gilead Sciences looks attractively valued.
A dividend stock you can buy and forget
David Jagielski (GlaxoSmithKline): Retirees probably don't want to be taking on too much risk in their latter years. After all, it can take a long time for the markets to recover from a crash. And that's why if you're retired, you might love a stable healthcare stock like GlaxoSmithKline.
The drugmaker is an attractive option for a couple of reasons. The first is its dividend yield of more than 5%. An initial investment of $25,000 could provide $1,250 in dividend income each year.
Another reason to like GlaxoSmithKline is its consistency. The company's profit margin is normally above 10%. Glaxo continues to look for ways to grow, with its pipeline featuring more than 60 vaccines and medicines.
Although the company plans to spin off its consumer health business this year, it still projects that core biopharma operations will grow at a rate between 5% and 7%. GlaxoSmithKline's focus on a variety of therapeutic areas, including infectious diseases, HIV, oncology, and immunology, make this a stable business to invest in that has plenty of opportunities for long-term growth on the horizon.
GlaxoSmithKline stock's performance has lagged well behind the S&P 500 over the past five years. However, it offers relatively low volatility. The stock is also cheap, with a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 13.