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Top broker labels Ramsay Health Care Limited a buy: Should you invest?

In morning trade the Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) share price has jumped 2.5% thanks largely to the release of a favourable research note out of Credit Suisse.

According to the release the investment bank has upgraded the private hospital operator’s shares from neutral to an outperform rating with a $74.50 price target.

Should Ramsay’s shares reach the price target set out by Credit Suisse it would mean a return in excess of 12% from the current share price.

Although its analysts think Ramsay could face headwinds from the stronger Australian dollar, they believe its Australian operations will outperform both rival Healthscope Ltd (ASX: HSO) and the industry as a whole.

Should you invest?

I think Ramsay is one of the best buy and hold investment options on the market, so would have to agree wholeheartedly with Credit Suisse on this one.

Thanks to ageing populations, longer life expectancy, increased chronic disease burden, and improvements in treatments and diagnostic methods, I feel Ramsay is in a strong position to grow earnings at a solid rate for at least the next decade.

Its shares may not be cheap at 28x trailing earnings, but I believe these tailwinds and its defensive qualities mean it is well worth paying a premium to own its shares.

As a result I would place it up there with biotherapeutics giant CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) as a must buy healthcare share today.

Ramsay and CSL aren't the only shares which I think would make excellent buy and hold investments. These three hot growth stocks could be great options as well. Do you own them?

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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