Healthcare stocks are one of the best sectors to capture long-term innovation and sector strength. After all, healthcare needs are perennial, especially as the global population lives longer and can generally afford more than the bare minimum of care. But finding the strong buy options for healthcare stocks is tough, especially as many press releases and earnings calls are filled with medical and technical jargon that spins finance-minded heads.
That’s why using analyst ratings is a useful metric when researching which healthcare stocks are strong buys. These analysts tend to be experts in the specific healthcare sector or arena they cover and are generally equipped to understand the technical nuance that escapes the rest of us.
These three stocks have high analyst rankings and enough bullish tailwinds to make them top healthcare contenders for a spot in your portfolio.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX)
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) is one of the best-performing healthcare stocks on the market today, generating more than 40% gains over the past year. Most of its bullish tailwinds come from successful clinical trials of a non-opioid pain relief treatment that “cuts off pain at the source.” Vertex’s solid financial foundation further supports the continued advancement toward a future less reliant on opioids and solidifies its strong buy status.
Beyond emergent therapies, the company’s flagship treatments for cystic fibrosis contributed to its 11% overall annual revenue increase in the most recent report, alongside a 9% net income jump. Vertex also holds $13.07 billion in cash to fund its deep and diverse drug pipeline. This financial health indicates strong momentum for the company’s ongoing and future initiatives.
Vertex is also at the forefront of pioneering healthcare technologies, including a key strategic partnership with top gene editing Crispr (NASDAQ:CRSP). This collaboration saw the world’s first FDA-approved gene-edited cell therapy last year, promising big things ahead for the unique healthcare stock.
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)
Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) is harnessing the burgeoning trend of robotic assistance in surgeries to position itself as a leading name in the healthcare sector. Distinguished from other innovative MedTech stocks, ISRG is a member of both the NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500 indices, affirming its strong market presence.
Despite its high price, analysts are perennially bullish on ISRG. Out of 23 analysts, a convincing majority of 18 recommend buying the stock, reflecting robust confidence in its future performance even at a premium price point. Notably, there are zero sell ratings, with the remaining five analysts advocating a hold position.
ISRG’s recent quarterly results promise continued momentum, as robotic surgery rates using its tech climbed 21% in the fourth quarter. The company’s revenue and income have followed suit, registering substantial increases of 22% and 20%, respectively.
ISRG is expanding its footprint to select European markets in an early move to widely test its recently approved single-port system used for a range of procedures. Successful deployment of the new tech promises to make robotic surgery more accessible, improving ISRG’s market share and patient outcomes simultaneously.
ClearPoint Neuro (CLPT)
ClearPoint Neuro (NASDAQ:CLPT) is slowly climbing back to past pricing after a few rough months contributed to a full-year loss of 24%. That poor showing doesn’t detract from ClearPoint’s being among the strong buy healthcare stocks and offers an ideal entry point for small-cap healthcare investors.
The company’s cornerstone technology, the ClearPoint platform, enhances brain surgery precision when diagnosing and treating neurological conditions. Recent per-share upticks come primarily from a series of expedited regulatory approvals, positioning the company at the forefront of medical device innovation.
The most significant of these approvals is from the FDA, which greenlights the clinical use of ClearPoint’s SmartFrame OR Stereotactic System. This system revolutionizes how providers administer radiation therapy during stereotactic radiosurgery, offering a non-invasive alternative to traditional surgery by targeting radiation at cancerous tissues to reduce tumors.
Its ability to operate within the operating room sets this platform apart, broadening its applicability beyond MRI-exclusive setups. Joe Burnett, the President and CEO, encapsulates the significance of this development, noting that this product can now be utilized in more hospitals, potentially aiding a significantly larger patient demographic than ClearPoint’s previous technologies.
Further bolstering its market position, ClearPoint has also received the nod from European Union regulators to distribute its existing products across Europe, thus widening its global footprint and market potential.
On the date of publication, Jeremy Flint held no positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.