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TheStreet Open House

5 Hated Stocks to Buy to Beat the S&P in 2013

Cerner

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Up first is health care IT firm Cerner (CERN). Cerner's business centers around harnessing the tailwinds from the transition to digital medical records -- and the firm has been one of the industry's biggest names. Today, almost a third of U.S. hospitals use Cerner's Millennium platform to store everything from medical data to financial records. It's not just hospitals either; pharmacies and physician offices are using Cerner's platform to manage their records too.

>>5 Health Care Stocks Ready to Break Out

But none of that has stopped investors from hating this stock. At last count, Cerner's short interest ratio of 12.9 means that it would take short sellers two and a half weeks of buying activity to cover their positions at current volume levels. That's a lot of buying.

There are some big incentives working in Cerner's favor right now; the biggest is legislation. Government rules have mandated that medical facilities use electronic medical records for a while now, and because Cerner's platform fulfills the legal requirements of the program, it's enjoyed significant market share.

Another big incentive for medical facilities is getting paid. Cerner's offerings cut down the administrative steps needed to get practices and hospitals payments from either insurance companies or government programs. That helps lessen the blow of a costly medical IT package.

A push to attract smaller medical offices with a less pricey suite of tools should help round out Cerner's client list in 2013. In the meantime, the firm's $1.3 billion of net balance sheet cash should be plenty of wherewithal to handle any unexpected bumps in the road.

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