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Bullish Prospects: Exploring the Lucrative Healthcare Market Gems of 2024


Lauren Miller

March 20, 2024 - 11:17 am


Booming Health Care: Hidden Gems in the Market

Amidst a dynamic and buoyant start to 2024, the health care sector of the stock market is showing signs of vitality not observed since the year 2021. With the S & P 500 health care sector surging by over 6%, industry behemoths such as Eli Lilly and DaVita have been at the forefront of this climb, each skyrocketing by more than 30%. However, the spotlight now turns to some lesser-known entities, poised to potentially outdo the pack according to financial services company, Jefferies. As the Federal Reserve slashes interest rates, there's a flurry of activity around these smaller, robust players that could lead them to leap by 30% to 45%.

Jefferies' analysts have employed a keen eye in uncovering these "hidden gems"—companies that have flown under the radar of the wider market and receive minimal attention from analysts, with fewer than 15 experts tracking them. Notably, these players are not just overshadowed in the market arena but also exude a synergy of robust growth narratives paired with an offering of value. Already sprinting ahead of the Russell 2000 index this year, this segment of the health care sector has emerged as a dark horse, one that is on a trajectory to potentially surpass market expectations.

Record-breaking mergers and acquisitions within the sector have further propelled this year’s successes. These elevated levels of corporate activity not only indicate a healthy industry but are also often aligned with favorable performance during periods where the Federal Reserve reduces interest rates. Wall Street currently anticipates a trio of rate reductions before the year comes to an end. Jefferies’ stock picks come from a thoughtful screening process prioritizing growth at a reasonable price (GARP), ensuring investors access to prosperity without overstepping the boundaries of rational expenditure.

Incyte: Pharmaceutical Innovation Amid Competition

Incyte, a pharmaceutical firm, emerged on Jefferies' exclusive list. This year, Incyte’s shares witnessed a decline of 7%, however, this has not deterred Jefferies from setting an ambitious $81 per share price target on the company, a target that encapsulates a 38% potential increment from the share value at Monday's close. The company's flagship chemotherapy medication, Jakafi, faces the daunting cliff of exclusivity loss, which could carve a $2.6 billion void in its revenue. Despite this, there is a silver lining. Jefferies' analyst Kelly Shi believes that Incyte’s strategic pivot into dermatology could potentially offset this looming shortfall and, in fact, bolster the company's financial streams more than what current projections suggest.

Shi also draws attention to Incyte’s topical eczema medication, Opzelura, emphasizing its potential to secure regulatory blessings for additional medical conditions such as mild to moderate hidradenitis suppurativa and prurigo nodularis. These are markets Shi approximates to be worth $1 billion, representing a significant expansion for Incyte's revenue prospects. It’s these calculated risks and targeted strategies that could forge paths for Incyte to ascend once again in the pharmaceutical sphere.

Staar Surgical: Pioneering Vision with Implantable Lenses

Staar Surgical stands tall amongst Jefferies' highlighted prospects. The company's specialization in the field of implantable collamer lenses—revolutionizing the way refractive eye surgeries are conducted—serves as a beacon of innovation. These lenses offer the potential to dramatically reduce patients' dependence on spectacles. Reflecting its growth potential, Jefferies has set a robust $50 price target per share for Staar Surgical, indicating a 31% increase from the company's share value at the start of the week. The company's stock has already witnessed an impressive 24% ascent since the year’s inception.

Jefferies' analyst Young Li praises Staar Surgical as a leading long-term contender in the treatment of myopia, standing head and shoulders above other contemporary "refractive surgical solutions.". Moreover, Li acknowledges the company's financial guidance for the full year of 2024, which suggests considerable optimism for investors. Staar Surgical’s management predicts a growth of approximately 10% in major markets such as the United States and China, aiming to reach at least a break-even operating margin in the current year. This is all the more remarkable given the context of a generally flat growth curve in the refractive surgery market, against which Staar Surgical has consistently outpaced by a margin of 25% in preceding years.

As investors navigate the ebullient tides of the health care sector, it’s evident that the undercurrents shaping the industry are as intricate as they are potent. Analysts like those at Jefferies enact a vigilant watch over the market’s undulations, ever in pursuit of investment opportunities that blend both growth potential and palatable pricing—investments that could perhaps yield generous fruit amidst a financial landscape frequently considered tightfisted and impenetrable. Such diligence has unearthed companies like Incyte and Staar Surgical, which both epitomize the delicate balance of pioneering innovation and market acumen.

The Role of the Federal Reserve in Health Care Market Dynamics

The Federal Reserve’s policies have a pronounced impact on various sectors of the economy, including health care. The anticipation of interest rate cuts creates a ripple effect that can influence investment strategies and corporate decision-making. With Jefferies' equity strategist Steven DeSanctis indicating that the health care sector often benefits from a rate reduction environment, key players and investors alike are attuned to the cadence of the Fed's fiscal drumbeat. This year's predicted trisection of rate cuts has cultivated a milieu ripe for investment, particularly in the 'hidden gem' domains of the health care market that Jefferies has shed light upon.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Driving Health Care Sector Growth

Mergers and acquisitions have served as critical instruments of growth and consolidation in the health care field. Not only do these acts enable companies to expand their reach and capacity, but they also offer avenues to innovate and diversify product portfolios. The current record-level activities in M&A within the sector underscore a robust drive for expansion and reflect an industry in the throes of both competitive and cooperative evolution. Consequently, investors are closely monitoring these developments, recognizing the potential for these corporate movements to augment market performance and create lucrative investment opportunities.

With a keen eye on both established titans and the promising tendrils of smaller companies, the health care investment environment is a tapestry of complexity. It's in this milieu that companies like Eli Lilly and DaVita have cemented their dominance, edging up the sector's momentum. Nevertheless, the true dynamism may lie with the nimble, under-the-radar companies that Jefferies forecasts to experience substantial growth.

Investment Strategies: The Pursuit of Growth at a Reasonable Price

Jefferies’ GARP approach is instrumental in identifying investment candidates that may have been overlooked in the broader market dialogue. Positioning for growth at a reasonable price allows for a judicious deployment of capital, potentially minimizing risk while seeking out opportunities for appreciable returns. This tactic resonates with a wide array of investors, who prefer a strategy that avoids the extremes of speculative gambles or conservative stagnation, aiming instead for a fertile middle ground that offers both stability and the potential for growth.


The optimistic projections for the health care sector outlined by Jefferies are underpinned by diligent research and careful market analysis. Companies like Incyte, poised to venture boldly into new therapeutic territories, and Staar Surgical, establishing itself as a visionary in ocular health, exemplify the kinds of smart, strategic plays that can appeal to investors looking for growth balanced against measured risk. As the market continues to evolve, with the guiding hand of the Federal Reserve and the robust activity of mergers and acquisitions, the health care sector appears not just as a field of investment but as an arena of boundless innovation and potential.

For more detailed insights and the full analysis provided by Jefferies, interested readers can access the original source content via the following URL:

Jefferies Health Care Sector Analysis

Please note, the URL provided above is included for reference purposes and to increase reader navigability, facilitating direct access to the insights and analyses from Jefferies on the health care sector's performance, potential hidden gems, and the impacts of Federal Reserve policies on investments.

The dance of the market is ever-complex, and in no industry is this truer than in health care. As Jefferies illuminates the sector's 'hidden gems,' investors gaze upon a horizon where innovation melds with opportunity, offering a rare glimpse into a future ripe with possibilities. As the market moves onward through 2024, the symbiosis of rate cuts, strategic growth, and acquisitions may well pave the way for a healthy and thriving investment landscape.

In times of interest rate cuts and market uncertainty, such as those potentially unfolding this year, growth and security are often depicted as being at opposite ends of the investment spectrum. However, under the discerning eyes of analysts and the resilient strategies of agility-oriented companies, a merging point may be found—one where growth does not come at the expense of stability, but rather, where they progress in tandem. This is the embodiment of the risk-reward balance that defines astute investment in today's health care sector.