Over the last couple years, the fate of healthcare stocks have been in question. With ample political turmoil surrounding the topic to give investors cold feet and the healthcare sector stock index turning up negative in 2016, reasons to avoid healthcare investing have not been in short supply. And the list goes on. Many investors have been steering clear of healthcare, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the only winning move in this economic climate.
Investing in healthcare can be a profitable exercise, if the investor knows what to do. Just as a physician assesses the state of a patient in order to determine the most appropriate treatment plan, an investor must know how to assess the state of a market in order to choose wisely in healthcare investment. In light of this analogy, let’s take a look at some considerations to make when approaching healthcare investing.
Check the vital signs
The first thing any doctor does when a patient comes through their door is check check their breathing, blood pressure, pulse and temperature. This exercise is a prerequisite to proceeding toward any kind of diagnosis. This will alert medical professionals of any previously undetected issues that may be more pressing than what was originally suspected. Once this simple but critical step is successfully cleared, the physician will proceed.
Similarly, when an investor is considering a healthcare stock to invest in, there are certain “vital signs” they should explore as prerequisites to see if the stock is a viable options, or if there are greater risks involved than anticipated. One investor, Brian Hennessey of Alpine Woods Capital Investors in Purchase, New York, reported that among the vitals he looks for are a solid balance sheets, reliable earnings drivers and healthy cash-flow. Good management and rights to intellectual property in the case of biotech and pharmaceutical companies are also big pluses, Hennessey says.
Pay attention to medical records
Doctors review medical records prior to even seeing the patient. They do this to gain an overall understanding of the patient’s medical history and current state. Doctors are able to compare the reports of medical issues with past problems. In some cases, they are able to identify correlations between the two and they can accordingly. A patient’s medical information is like to factor into the processes of diagnosis and treatment.
Similarly, investors should consider the “medical histories” of the companies they are considering for investment. Are they a big company with an extensive history of success or a start-up with not much history to go off of? This greatly influences the level of risk involved in investment. Even looking at records of the interaction between the company and their clients can be an indicator of the investment value of the company. Have they had longstanding contracts with clients or were contracts terminated quickly? Again, this can help to inform investment decisions before even getting into the minutia of crunching the numbers.
Select the treat with the most upside
Medical professionals have to make some difficult decisions. In some cases they have to make decisions that reconcile risk with upside. In other words, they may have to choose between a treatment option that is high risk/high reward and low risk/low reward. In the case of doctors, this sensitive decision will vary based on the circumstance. Ultimately, they are looking for the treatment that will secure the best quality of life for the patient.
While circumstances in investing will also vary, looking for investment options with an attractive upside is also a good rule of thumb. This decision may be the result of weighing several different factors including company track record and market position. Ultimately, the point is to look for companies that will be able to pay dividends in the foreseeable future. This will fall somewhere within the spectrum of high and low risk/reward scenarios. But as long as investors are on the lookout for promising upside, they should be on the right track.
There is no online training or book that can ensure success in resuscitating a stock portfolio through healthcare investing (although there is ACLS online training in the medical field). Still, there are some guidelines that can steer investors in the right general direction. And with the right information and a little luck, investors may find great success in the healthcare sector.Comments »