4 stock ideas I brought back from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference and everything else I learned about the industry

An exhibit from Abbott is seen during the Consumer Electronics Show January 10, 2024, in Las Vegas

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Health care may be a real challenger to tech this year, a business that can actually grow faster than most of tech and has the possibility of a comeback from the Covid straitjacket that so many of these companies got caught up in. The pandemic obscured so much of the growth as Abbott Labs, for example, poured money into BinaxNOW tests, and Regeneron developed a rapid response drug. Pfizer went after vaccines and rapid responses, and the drug stores shifted resources to Covid immunity shots.

Now, with Covid behind them, we are seeing the true earnings power of so many terrific companies. For our newest Bullpen additions, we focused on Abbott Labs, Novartis, Amgen and Walgreens Boots Alliance. We will go over them – but first, let me talk about what I learned at last week’s JPMorgan Health Care Conference that I attended in San Francisco, and what it means to your portfolio.

We have not spent too much of our resources on this sector because it wasn’t right to do so. You have Covid eating up time and resources not just to develop sources of immunity and treatment but also because you did not have patients coming and asking for treatment for more elective surgery, especially the elderly. That’s what felled UnitedHealth taking our now-disappointing Club name Humana down with it.