If you're investing in the stock market right now and searching for companies that are less cyclical and can generate investor returns in a wide range of environments, you're not alone.
While no stock is entirely impervious to factors like the economy or market volatility, healthcare stocks can be a wise place to park your cash; they are businesses that face consistent demand and can provide steady, gradual portfolio returns over time.
If you have $1,000 to invest right now, here are two smart stocks to consider.
1. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -0.20%) may not be as familiar a name as other healthcare companies, but if you're looking to expand into these types of stocks, it's certainly one to add to your watch list.
Shares of Vertex have significantly outperformed the broader market over the past year as the company has continued to report strong financial and business growth. In fact, shares of the stock are up nearly 70% over the last 12 months -- compare that to the S&P 500's decline of close to 20% in the same time frame.
Over the past five years, Vertex has delivered a total return of 114%, nearly twice that of the S&P 500. There are some compelling catalysts behind Vertex's growth story that long-term investors should note.
For one, there's the reality that Vertex remains the unparalleled leader in the market for cystic fibrosis (CF) treatments. While there's a range of ways that the medical community approaches treating the incurable genetic disease, one of the most revolutionary developments in this space has been the approval of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators. The goal of a CFTR modulator is to help the flawed CFTR protein that causes cystic fibrosis to function as it should.
All of the CFTR modulators currently on the market are made by Vertex. And one of these drugs, Trikafta, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat more than 90% of all individuals with cystic fibrosis. Trikafta raked in total revenue of roughly $9.6 billion in 2020 and 2021 alone, and is the company's top-selling drug by far.
However, Vertex also continues to see strong growth spurred on by sales of its other three CFTR modulators: Kalydeco, Orkambi, and Symdeko. In the most recent quarter, Vertex reported that overall revenue rose 18% from the year-ago period, while its operating income and net income jumped 7% and 9% respectively. It closed the three-month period with a robust stash of cash on hand, to the tune of nearly $10 billion.
Not only does Vertex have a robust market footprint and excellent financials, but it's also actively working to expand beyond the CF treatment space into other lucrative markets, including diabetes care and rare blood disorders. This month, the company plans to seek regulatory approval for exa-cel, which treats sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia, and is a product of its ongoing partnership with CRISPR Therapeutics.
A $1,000 investment in Vertex Pharmaceuticals at its current share price would add approximately three shares to your portfolio.
2. Teladoc Health
Teladoc Health (TDOC 2.43%) became a household name for consumers and investors alike in the early days of the pandemic. With millions of people trapped in their homes globally for months on end, a shift toward virtual care -- one that had notably been underway well before the pandemic began -- accelerated rapidly.
There's certainly no denying that the growth which Teladoc witnessed in the earlier days of the pandemic was astronomical. Its 2020 revenue leapt upward by nearly 100% from the prior year, while 2021 saw it report a nearly 90% spike in annual revenue.
However, demand for the services that Teladoc's platform facilitates didn't evaporate with the reopening of the world, even as its share price has continued to decline and its quarterly reports have become more conservative against that impressive track record of growth. And the combination of an aging population with rising demand for the accessibility and affordability of virtual-care services provides tailwinds that can drive Teladoc's growth trajectory over the long term.
A few major catalysts have led to the healthcare stock's unfortunate downfall over the past year. One is a general distaste for so-called stay-at-home stocks, which some investors have turned away from as the world returns to a sense of normalcy.
In addition, the current macro environment has made many investors wary of growth-oriented businesses like Teladoc. And finally, there's been the company's lack of profitability, worsened by the nearly $10 billion in impairment charges it reported in the first half of this year, stemming from its acquisition of Livongo in 2020.
The first two catalysts are generally considered cyclical, based on investor sentiment rather than tied to the underlying business. The third catalyst is indeed correlated to Teladoc's business, but it's one which the company is already making decided progress in recovering from today.
In the first nine months of 2022, Teladoc's revenue jumped 20% from the year-ago period. And in the most recent quarter, Teladoc narrowed its net loss by a robust 13% year over year, and 98% on a sequential basis. Meanwhile, management is still guiding for annual revenue growth of more than 20% in 2022.
The global telehealth industry was already valued at $42 billion as of 2019. By 2027, this space may witness growth to an eye-popping valuation of nearly $400 billion. Teladoc was the indomitable force in this space well before the pandemic, and remains so to this day.
At Teladoc's current price, a $1,000 investment would leave you with about 36 shares.