NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With the health care-sector doing well, it could be a good time to invest in what has recently been one of the strongest growth sectors. Looking through TheStreet Quant Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary quant-based stock-rating tool, we picked the six best large-cap health care companies, which are all A rated.

The Street Quant Ratings rates every one of these stocks an A. These stocks were chosen from 4,300 different types of equities we rate.

TheStreet Ratings projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 16.56% return in 2014, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which stocks made the list. And when you're done, be sure to read about which tech stocks you should buy now. Year-to-date returns are based on October 14, 2015 prices as of 9:35am.

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TFX

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6. Teleflex Incorporated

(TFX) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $5.2 billion
Year-to-date return: 9.77%

Teleflex Incorporated designs, develops, manufactures, and supplies single-use medical devices for common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in critical care and surgical applications worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings team rates TELEFLEX INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate TELEFLEX INC (TFX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • TELEFLEX INC's earnings per share declined by 10.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TELEFLEX INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.09 versus $3.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.22 versus $4.09).
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.58, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.92 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • The gross profit margin for TELEFLEX INC is rather high; currently it is at 57.40%. Regardless of TFX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 9.85% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TFX
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MD

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5. MEDNAX, Inc.

(MD) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $7.6 billion
Year-to-date return: 22.54%

MEDNAX, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides neonatal, anesthesia, maternal-fetal, and other pediatric subspecialties physician services in the United States and Puerto Rico.

TheStreet Ratings team rates MEDNAX INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MEDNAX INC (MD) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • MD's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.58, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.45, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Providers & Services industry and the overall market, MEDNAX INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 48.85% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MD should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • MEDNAX INC has improved earnings per share by 13.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MEDNAX INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.17 versus $2.78 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.62 versus $3.17).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MD
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UHS

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4. Universal Health Services, Inc.

(UHS) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $12.8 billion
Year-to-date return: 16.14%

Universal Health Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals, behavioral health centers, surgical hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and radiation oncology centers.

TheStreet Ratings team rates UNIVERSAL HEALTH SVCS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate UNIVERSAL HEALTH SVCS INC (UHS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • UHS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.75, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.18, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Providers & Services industry and the overall market, UNIVERSAL HEALTH SVCS INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • UNIVERSAL HEALTH SVCS INC has improved earnings per share by 19.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, UNIVERSAL HEALTH SVCS INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.42 versus $5.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.99 versus $5.42).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: UHS
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SYK

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3. Stryker Corporation

(SYK) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $37 billion
Year-to-date return: 4.06%

Stryker Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a medical technology company. The company operates through three segments: Orthopaedics, MedSurg, and Neurotechnology and Spine.

TheStreet Ratings team rates STRYKER CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate STRYKER CORP (SYK) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Health Care Equipment & Supplies industry. The net income increased by 206.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $128.00 million to $392.00 million.
  • The revenue growth significantly trails the industry average of 35.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.41, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, SYK has a quick ratio of 1.55, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for STRYKER CORP is rather high; currently it is at 68.13%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 16.11% is above that of the industry average.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SYK
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AET

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2. Aetna Inc.

(AET)


Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $39.7 billion
Year-to-date return: 28.34%

Aetna Inc. operates as a health care benefits company in the United States. It operates through three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance, and Large Case Pensions.

TheStreet Ratings team rates AETNA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate AETNA INC (AET) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 36.84% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 36.96% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AET should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • AETNA INC has improved earnings per share by 36.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AETNA INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.66 versus $5.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.53 versus $5.66).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Health Care Providers & Services industry average. The net income increased by 33.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $548.80 million to $731.80 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Providers & Services industry and the overall market, AETNA INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AET
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UNH

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1. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

(UNH) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $118.6 billion
Year-to-date return: 23.12%

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings team rates UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC (UNH) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • UNH's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 34.01% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, UNH should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 15.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.70 versus $5.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.32 versus $5.70).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Health Care Providers & Services industry average. The net income increased by 12.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,408.00 million to $1,585.00 million.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Health Care Providers & Services industry and the overall market, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: UNH