When will the market turmoil end? Unfortunately, no one really knows. There's no end in sight right now to high inflation, rising interest rates, and the continuing conflict in Ukraine. All of these factors are weighing on the stock market.
However, not every stock is experiencing such turmoil. Here are three relatively safe stocks to buy that are crushing the market.
McKesson (MCK 0.24%) beat the S&P 500 index in 2020. It did so again in 2021. And the healthcare services stock is trouncing the S&P 500 so far this year with a sizzling gain of more than 30%.
The company continues to outperform primarily by simply executing well. McKesson's revenue in the quarter ending March 31, 2022, jumped 12% year over year. Its adjusted earnings per share for the quarter were up 15%.
CEO Brian Tyler pointed out several ways that McKesson has improved productivity in the company's recent earnings conference call. He noted the introduction of automated picking and packing solutions and robotics used in the pharmaceutical distribution business. Tyler added, "We're also expanding the reach of our core business by entering adjacent markets while maintaining operational excellence."
The prescription drugs and medical-surgical supplies that McKesson distributes will be needed regardless of what happens with the economy. With shares trading at only 13.3 times expected earnings and solid growth opportunities ahead, this stock looks like a great pick for shell-shocked investors right now.
2. Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY -1.09%) stands out as another healthcare stock that's handily whipping the overall market these days. Its shares are up more than 20% year to date with no significant decline so far in 2022 at all.
Much of BMS' strong gains have been the result of key regulatory wins. Cancer immunotherapy Opdivo picked up European approval in April as a first-line treatment for esophageal cancer. Cell therapy Breyanzi won European approval in treating B-cell lymphoma. And the company scored a huge U.S. win with approval of new heart failure drug Camzyos (mavacamten).
BMS does face some challenges. Its top-selling drug, Revlimid, no longer enjoys exclusivity in the U.S. Cancer drug Abraxane also must now compete against generic rivals.
However, the big drugmaker has multiple new products with tremendous revenue potential. It also has a strong pipeline with more than 40 programs in late-stage development.
3. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -0.77%) stock soared more than 30% year to date by mid-April. It has given up some of that gain in recent weeks but is still easily outperforming the market with shares up around 15%.
The big biotech's monopoly in the cystic fibrosis (CF) market is stronger than ever. One of its top potential rivals, AbbVie, recently announced disappointing phase 2 results for a triple-drug CF combo.
Vertex could soon have another big winner outside of the CF arena. The company and its partner, CRISPR Therapeutics, hope to file for regulatory approvals of gene-editing therapy CTX001 later this year in treating sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia.
The long-term prospects for Vertex also appear to be bright. The biotech's pipeline features promising late-stage candidates targeting APOL1-mediated kidney disease (a bigger potential market than CF) and acute pain. In addition, Vertex could have a game-changer with its islet cell therapies that hold the potential to cure type 1 diabetes.