With a market cap of more than $190 billion, health-care giant Johnson & Johnson
From an operational standpoint, J&J's growth has been fairly stagnant in each of the company's three main divisions: medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer. In the second quarter, the medical devices division only experienced operational growth of 2.8% on a year-over-year basis, and its Cordis drug-coated stent business took a serious pounding. The pharmaceutical business had operational growth of only 3.8% and will likely be subject to a touch of backlash in upcoming quarters related to its voluntary decision to withdraw its infants' cough and cold products from shelves. As for the company's consumer business segment, it too had low single-digit operational growth, after backing out the Pfizer
Johnson & Johnson is doing all of the right things from an operations standpoint in a tough environment. That said, J&J does not have the smooth sailing ahead that it enjoyed during its glory days in the 1990s. The company has a number of drugs coming off patent in the next few years and faces competition from generics that is much fiercer than the company has ever previously seen. Further, the company has become so large and diversified that further growth will be tough to come by.
In terms of investor returns, longtime J&J shareholders should be quite pleased. Shares have risen 120% over the past decade -- and that excludes the solid dividend payouts. Despite a stellar long-run track record of returns, though, the company's shares have been sorely lagged the major indices over the past several years.
Fools need to look for other opportunities to match or outperform the market, as opposed to coming back to a blue chip that might have its best days of capital appreciation behind it.