No industry has arguably played a more prominent role in extended life expectancies around the world in recent decades than the healthcare industry. With the current global population of nearly 8 billion anticipated to grow to just shy of 10 billion by 2050, demand for healthcare products and services around the world is set to increase substantially.
Here are two dividend-paying healthcare stocks that should produce higher earnings and hand out dividend increases as a result of the growing global population.
1. UnitedHealth Group
The first stock to consider buying right now is the health insurer UnitedHealth Group (UNH -1.16%). With a market capitalization of $505 billion, the stock is already halfway to the $1 trillion milestone.
UnitedHealth posted double-digit revenue and earnings growth in 2021. And this double-digit earnings growth looks like it will continue in the years ahead. Increasing medical care costs and a growing occurrence of chronic diseases should lead to solid future growth in the global health insurance market.
That is why market research company Vantage Market Research predicts the market will grow at a 4.4% annual rate to $3.3 trillion by 2028. That promising forecast along with UnitedHealth's status as the leading player in the industry bode well for the company. And it explains why analysts anticipate that earnings will compound at 14.6% annually over the next five years.
UnitedHealth's 1.1% dividend yield is moderately lower than the S&P 500's 1.4% yield, so it won't impress income investors. But with the stock's dividend payout ratio of 29%, a strong earnings growth outlook, and potential annual dividend growth rate in the high-teens, this should compensate for the lower immediate income.
A 45% rally in its stock price over the last year has pushed the forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio up to 25. This is notably higher than the S&P 500's 19 forward multiple. But for a stock of its quality, the valuation still doesn't appear to be excessive.
2. Abbott Laboratories
The second stock to think about purchasing is the diversified healthcare stock Abbott Laboratories (ABT -1.29%). The company consists of four segments: diagnostics (such as its the BinaxNOW COVID-19 test), medical devices, nutrition (led by brands like Ensure and Glucerna), and established pharmaceuticals (branded generic drugs in emerging markets).
The company's two largest segments -- diagnostics and medical devices -- accounted for nearly 70% of its total revenue in 2021. And each of these markets is likely to do well in the years ahead.
The market research firm Data Bridge Market Research predicts that the global diagnostics market will grow at a 9% annual rate from $162.5 billion in 2021 to $339.9 billion by 2029. And market research company Mordor Intelligence believes that the global medical devices market will increase at a 5.5% annual rate from $532.6 billion in 2021 to $734.4 billion in 2027.
Abbott Labs' reputable brands and the encouraging prospects of the diagnostics and medical device markets should translate into robust growth. In fact, analysts expect the stock's earnings to grow 12.1% annually through the next five years.
Better yet, Abbott offers investors a market-beating 1.6% dividend yield. And since the stock's dividend payout ratio was just 34.5% in 2021, the dividend should at least be able to grow in line with earnings going forward. This means that Abbott can provide investors with an attractive combination of yield and growth.
To top it off, Abbott is trading at a forward P/E ratio of about 24. Considering the stock's quality, I believe this premium to the S&P 500 index is justified.