Last, but certainly not least, is medical device maker Covidien (COV). Health care has been one of the best-performing sectors over the past few months, and Covidien has been no exception. After some big changes in 2013, this stock is ready to continue move higher this year.
After spinning off its pharmaceuticals business into Mallinckrodt (MNK) last year, COV became a pure-play medical device and imaging manufacturer, businesses that are expected to grow significantly over the next few years thanks to demand from more liberal insurance rules and aging demographics. With generic pharma separated from COV's income statement, the firm should be able to produce bigger margins for its wide offering of devices. Better, several of Covidien's newer product launches have the potential to be surprise sellers in 2014.
Because COV spends considerable cash on R&D, it's able to scale down development costs dramatically (and save profitability) during periods of economic belt-tightening. Likewise, the firm's balance sheet provides enough dry powder to invest in growth through acquisitions within its newly concentrated focus.
With rising analyst expectations in COV this week, we're betting on shares.
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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.