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The Top 3 Healthcare Stocks to Buy in July Several stocks stand out at this time as quality buys, which is why we've prepared a brief overview of the top 3 healthcare stocks to buy in July

By Sean Sechler

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat contributor/ via MarketBeat

The healthcare industry was on a strong growth trajectory prior to the pandemic, and that growth has been accelerated substantially over the last year given the circumstances. Some examples of how the sector is receiving a boost include booming demand for medical testing equipment, increasing adoption of telemedicine, and one of the largest vaccine distribution efforts that the world has ever seen. Investors should always be attracted to growing industries that play a huge role in the world's economy, which is why looking at some of the best healthcare stocks at the moment makes so much sense.

Over $7.8 trillion is spent on healthcare globally each year, and spending in the U.S. makes up a huge portion of that total. With President Joe Biden committed to an ambitious health care agenda and quality medical care a big focus for people all over the world following the pandemic, adding shares of the best companies in the sector could be a smart long-term move. Several stocks stand out at this time as quality buys, which is why we've prepared a brief overview of the top 3 healthcare stocks to buy in July below.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

If you are interested in owning a blue-chip health care juggernaut with a diversified business model, UnitedHealth Group should be one of the first names that come to mind. It's the largest managed health care firm in the United States providing a range of healthcare products and services including traditional risk-based health insurance plans, administration of non-risk health insurance plans, pharmacy benefit management, and health care delivery and optimization. The company is divided into two overarching business segments, with UnitedHealthcare representing the health insurance business and Optum representing the healthcare provider, services, and information technology arm of the company.

UnitedHealth Group started 2021 with a convincing quarter, as Q1 revenue was up 9% year-over-year and well above the consensus estimate. The company is poised to benefit from increasing Medicare Advantage enrollment and a rebound in commercial insurance plans as the unemployment rate continues to improve. UnitedHealth Group is also working to acquire major health care technology firm Change Healthcare this year which could lead to cost synergies and improved technological processes in the long term. UnitedHealth stock offers a 1.42% dividend yield at this time and recently reclaimed all of the short-term moving averages, which could signal that a rally is coming.

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT)

Any company that is able to combine technology and healthcare into a profitable business model is certainly worth a look, and Medtronic fits the bill. It's the largest pure-play medical device manufacturer and another strong healthcare stock to consider buying in July. Medtronic produces both therapeutic and diagnostic medical devices that play a key role in healthcare all over the world. The company operates in four segments, cardiovascular, medical surgical, neuroscience, and diabetes, and has plenty of exciting new products that combine technology and healthcare in seamless and innovative ways.

Medtronic should benefit in the near term from a recovery in elective procedures, and the company mentioned in its last earnings call that sales are almost fully recovered from the negative impacts of the pandemic. The company is also launching a robotic-assisted surgery platform that could receive regulatory approval in the very near future, another solid reason to consider adding shares. In Q4, Medtronic reported revenue growth of 37% year-over-year and saw its Adjusted EPS improve by 159% to $1.50, both encouraging figures. With a 1.99% dividend yield and plenty of potentially positive catalysts on the horizon, Medtronic is a very intriguing name in healthcare to consider adding at this time.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)

Another strong healthcare stock to consider adding in July is Abbott Laboratories, a diversified healthcare products company that is primarily focused on nutritional products, diagnostics, generic drugs, and medical devices. This is a company that is directly involved in the fight against the pandemic, as Abbott's COVID-19 testing can provide accurate results in about 15 minutes. The company generated $3.9 billion or roughly 11% of its total sales in 2020 from COVID tests, which tells us just how quickly the company has scaled up this part of its business. While sales for COVID testing could drop slightly in the near term, a bounce-back in elective procedures and physician visits should still help Abbott have a fantastic 2021 in terms of earnings.

Abbott reported strong Q1 results that could be an indication of good things to come this year. With worldwide sales up 35.3% year-over-year to $10.4 billion and adjusted EPS up 103% to $1.32 in Q1, it's clear that this company is seeing a recovery in some of the areas of its business that were hit hardest by the pandemic. Abbott Laboratories also has some exciting new products on the horizon such as the world's smallest and thinnest glucose sensor for diabetics called the Freestyle Libre 3 and other structural heart products that could help to drive growth over the long term.

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