Medical device maker Covidien (COV) is another name that Paulson & Co. added to its portfolios in the last quarter. The firm bought 1.8 million shares of the $25 billion company, taking on a $100 million stake in shares at current price levels. While COV has been trading sideways for much of the year, the stock's trajectory has been turning higher since the start of June. That bodes well for Paulson's portfolio in the second-half of 2012.
Covidien's diverse set of healthcare products includes medical devices, imaging systems, and pharmaceuticals; that's positioning that protects COV's sales from getting hit by any big industry speed bumps that could derail an overly concentrated name. Covidien also stands to benefit from the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare, a move that should help to increase the number of patients who are capable of paying for COV's products. While limited U.S. exposure mitigates the full effect of the ruling on COV's top line, a rising tide should help to lift all ships in the medical device and pharma businesses.>>5 European Stocks Too Cheap to Ignore A strong balance sheet and a history of dividend payouts should help to boost returns for COV shareholders, particularly given the sideways bent that shares have been on since January. Because this stock hasn't been on a tear for most of the year, it's not suffering from an overextended valuation. Instead, shares look reasonably cheap right now. Investors looking for healthcare exposure would do well to follow Paulson's lead in COV. Covidien shows up on a list of 8 High-Quality Dividend-Paying European Stocks Trading Cheaply.