#1 – Abbott Labs
Health care spending on prescription drugs and other therapies is not a discretionary expense for millions of Americans – it’s a necessity. This has allowed for strong baseline sales at big pharma stocks such as Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT). Like other drugmakers, Abbott faces patent expirations on some of its big names, but its powerhouse arthritis medication Humira doesn’t go off patent until 2016, and the company is currently working on spinning off its brand-name drug operations from its generic pharmaceuticals, diagnostic devices and nutritional operations. The move could insulate Abbott – and investors seem to like the look of things. The stock is up by double digits so far in 2011. ABT yields 3.6% and has paid dividends since 1926.