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Stocks in this article: PXDCERNCRMBDXSWK

Becton Dickinson

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Chances are you've bought a product from Becton Dickinson (BDX) before. You just might not know it.

Becton is one of the biggest medical device firms in the world, with a huge business stocking hospitals and doctors' offices with scalpels, syringes, and surgical instruments. That means that you may have paid for a Becton syringe for your last flu shot without realizing it. Becton Dickinson also makes complex high-margin medical equipment, including oncology and pathology diagnostic devices. The medical device business is lucrative, but its bread and butter is still the boring medical product unit.

Exposure to boring health care spending is actually a big benefit. While there's considerable competition in the medical device space, there's a lot less in Becton's main line. Only a couple of firms can compete with Becton's scale, technology and cost at that level.

Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, Obamacare is a big catalyst for firms like BDX. With more Americans getting access to healthcare, medical consumable volume is ensured strong growth.

Financially, Becton Dickinson is in solid shape with consistent double digit net profit margins and cash coverage that offsets around half of the firm's total debt. A 2.3% dividend yield rounds out the picture for this company.

Short sellers are active in BDX, spiking the firm's shares 10.8. That's a high enough level to warrant a short squeeze in the first quarter of 2013.

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