Pharmaceutical stocks and drug-makers are theoretically recession-proof businesses, since folks will do everything they can to maintain their quality of life through medication and treatments. Still, not all pharma companies are created equal and there are clear winners and losers in this health care sector.
I watch more than 5,000 publicly traded companies with my Portfolio Grader tool, ranking companies by a number of fundamental and quantitative measures. And this week, 10 Big Pharma stocks to buy.
Here they are, in alphabetical order. Each one of these stocks gets an “A” or “B” according to my research, meaning it is a “strong buy” or “buy.”
Akorn Inc. (NASDAQ:AKRX) develops and markets diagnostic and therapeutic ophthalmic pharmaceuticals in addition to various specialized hospital drugs. AKRX has gained 34% since the start of 2011.
Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) is a big Pharma stock that develops and commercializes pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and over-the-counter products. Since the start of 2011, AGN has gained 21%.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) deals with the discovery, development, licensing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of pharmaceuticals internationally. Despite a down market, BMY is up 24% year-to-date.
Elan Corp. (NYSE:ELN) is a neuroscience based biotechnology company that has watched its stock soar 92% in just over 10 months, much to the delight of its shareholders.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:JAZZ) is a biopharmaceutical company involved with the identification, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. Year-to-date, JAZZ stock has jumped nearly 125%, compared to small losses by the broader markets.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is perhaps the most famous stock on this list, for its wide-ranging portfolio of health care products. JNJ may not be the biggest winner on the list, but its modest return of 3% has shareholders pleased.
Perrigo Co. (NASDAQ:PRGO) is an international company that develops, manufactures and distributes over-the-counter products and medicines. Despite a volatile market, PRGO has given its shareholders a steady return of 55%, year-to-date.
Questcor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:QCOR) is a biopharmaceutical company best known for its hallmark product H.P. Acthar Gel, which is an injectable drug used to remedy 19 conditions. QCOR is the biggest gainer on this list, up 121%, year-to-date.
Shire (NASDAQ:SHPGY) focuses on the needs of specialty physicians and develops products for a wide range of disorders and diseases. While the Dow Jones has dropped 1% in 2011, SHPGY has jumped an impressive 30%.
Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:WPI) is another global pharmaceutical company that develops generic products and medicines. The generics developer WPI has gained 30%, year-to-date.
Get more analysis of these picks and other publicly-traded stocks with Louis Navellier’s Portfolio Grader tool, a 100% free stock-rating tool that measures both quantitative buying pressure and eight fundamental factors.