Johnson & Johnson: A triple-A buy

A diversified portfolio and a high credit rating make this health care leader a defensive favorite.

By TheStockAdvisors Oct 22, 2011 11:02AM
By Elliott Gue, Personal Finance

We are boosting our stake in blue chip healthcare stocks and have chosen Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) as the latest stock to join our Growth Portfolio

The company one of the best-diversified and most defensive stocks in the health care sector; it is also one of a handful of companies that emerged from the ravages of the credit crunch and recession with an AAA credit rating from S&P.

The conglomerate’s medical devices and diagnostics segment, which accounted for about 40 percent of 2010 revenue, includes the DePuy line of artificial knees and hips, as well as products used to repair damaged bones and spines.

This division also manufactures arterial stents, contact lenses and a variety of diagnostic devices.

About three-quarters of the unit’s products hold the No. 1 or No. 2 position in their respective markets. Acquisitions and a commitment to innovation have enabled the health care giant to maintain and grow its market share in key product categories.

The pharmaceuticals segment (about 36 percent of 2010 revenue) boasts a portfolio of blockbuster drugs that includes Remicade for the treatment of immune inflammatory diseases, Concerta for attention deficit disorder and the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal.

A diversified portfolio of pharmaceuticals--the company markets more than 100 drugs in 125 countries--limits the damage associated with individual patent expirations.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson’s ongoing investment in research and development has stocked the company’s pipeline with promising treatments in late-stage trials.

Investors are likely most familiar with Johnson & Johnson’s consumer products segment (about 24 percent of 2010 revenue), which includes Listerine, Sudafed, Neutrogena and other well-known brands.

Demand for these products tends to remain relatively stable, even when the economy sours.

Manufacturing problems at Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare subsidiary in 2010 led to a major voluntary recall of Tylenol, Sudafed and other products.

Management expects to have the vast majority of these products back on store shelves by the second half of 2012.

With a strong pipeline of new pharmaceuticals and ample free cash flow, Johnson & Johnson will continue to steadily grow its earnings and dividend. The stock is a a buy under 67.

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