Last year was a difficult one for health care stocks, partially due to investors’ concerns over the federal health care debate. But 2011 is shaping up to be a whole different story for health care stocks. The sector has outpaced the S&P 500, up 6.3% in the first quarter compared to 4.2% for the broad market index.
But this does not mean all health care stocks are a good investment right now. In fact, some very established, well-known names have been underperforming the sector, as well as the overall market. Most have declined significantly in the past 12 months, and they have fallen as much as 7% year-to-date.
There’s simply no room in your portfolio for this kind of lackluster performance, so check out our list of health care stocks to sell.
Health Care Stock to Sell #1 Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
Known around the world for its range of brand-name consumer health care products, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is also starting to become known for its poor stock performance. In the past year, shares of JNJ are down almost 9%, and year-to-date, the big pharma stock is off more than 4%. The company’s quarterly earnings growth was down 12% year-over-year in its last income statement.
Health Care Stock to Sell #2 Merck & Co (MRK)
Year-to-date, Merck & Co Inc. (NYSE: MRK) has shown lackluster performance, falling 7%. In the past 12 months, the company known for its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health and consumer care products, has watched its stock decline almost 9%, compared to an 11%-plus gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Health Care Stock to Sell #3 Sanofi-Aventis (SNY)
Researcher, developer, manufacturer and marketer of health care products, Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY), is another pharmacy stock having a rough year. Over the past 12 months, SNY stock has dropped 1%, compared to gains by the broader markets. More alarming is SNY’s quarterly earnings growth, which was reported as -67% in its last income statement.
Health Care Stock to Sell #4 Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
Since reaching a high in mid-October, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) has experienced a slip in stock price of 4%. Known for discovering, developing, manufacturing and selling health care products, ABT just posted a quarterly earnings growth of -6% in its most recent income statement.