3 Hot Healthcare Stocks to Watch in 2013

January is not yet half over, but last year’s healthcare-sector growth appears to be flowing into 2013. Here’s a look at how three stocks have begun the year:

1) Athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN): Current Price $81.58

While shares of athenahealth are trading 16 percent below their five-year high of $96.64, the stock received a boost on Wednesday morning, shooting up 10 percent ahead its presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. In the presentation, the healthcare business services provider reiterated its annual growth targets of 30 percent for the next five years and predicted that that its gross margin will make incremental improvements year-over-year.

Transforming customers’ user experience was a main driver of growth that the company highlighted. Like many companies across a wide array of business sectors, athenahealth has developed iPhone and iPad applications to enable patients to have easier access to their health histories, appointments, and billing. According to the company’s estimates, approximate a third of its customers are using the application, and that number is projected to increase in 2013.

Shares held onto some of the gains made in the morning, but as of 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, athenahealth’s stock was trading up just slightly more than 4 percent.

ATHN

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2) NuVasive (NASDAQ:NUVA): Current Price $17.55

Following the announcement of its projected 2012 revenue, shares of NuVasive rose more than 12 percent. The medical device company, which specializes in spinal surgery, reported in a press release that last year’s revenue is expected to reach $619 million. This is good news for the company, as a previous guidance predicted only $601 million to $606 million. With new product launches scheduled and expectations for accelerated geographic expansion, NuVasive forecast that revenue will grow to $655 million this year, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $637 million.

“NuVasive executed exceptionally well to aggressively address market and competitive challenges in 2012,” stated Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Lukianov. “We anticipate that our market share taking strategy and momentum can be sustained in 2013.”

NUVA

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3) Hologic (NASDAQ:HOLX): Current Price $22.46

Shares of Hologic, a company that develops, manufactures and supplies diagnostics products, hit a low of $16.18 mid-way through last year after forecasting that third-quarter results would be well below analysts’ expectations and being found guilty of patent infringement  in April. But shares and the company’s profitability have rebounded.

The company made gains on Tuesday, with shares jumping close to 8 percent, after announcing that a new study published in the scientific journal Radiology showed that its 3D mammography technology significantly improved cancer detection rates when used in conjunction with its 2D technology.

“The Oslo trial is the first large-scale prospective study to show the additional cancers found with 3D mammography in combination with 2D mammography were invasive cancers, the very type of cancers we want to detect and treat early,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Cascella. “3D mammography is the best breast screening technology to date in that it finds significantly more invasive cancers while also reducing false positives.”

HOLX

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