3 Stocks Near 52-Week Highs Worth Selling

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Despite the stock market suffering its worst week since the credit crisis in 2008, it was still relatively easy to find dozens of company's nearing new 52-week highs last week. For optimists, these rallies may seem like dreams come true. For skeptics like me, they're opportunities to see whether companies trading near their 52-week highs have actually earned their current valuations.

Keep in mind that some companies deserve their lofty valuations. Collectors Universe (Nasdaq: CLCT  ) is back on track after a few rough years. Since turning its focus to its coin-grading business, revenue and pre-tax profits have jumped by double digits, and the company has been able to pay a growing dividend after briefly suspending its payout in late 2008 and early 2009.

Still, other companies might deserve a kick in the pants. Here's a look at three companies that could be worth selling.

No ETFing way!
You're going to get a panic-selling bonus this week, because I'm going to throw you a 3-for-1 special. I'm pretty sure this goes without saying, but if you've been lucky enough to time this bearish action in the market, then now's the time to run as quickly as you can away from triple-levered ETFs. Specifically, the Direxion Daily Basic Materials Bear 3X (NYSE: MATS  ) , Direxion Daily Financials Bear 3X (NYSE: FAZ  ) , and Direxion Daily Large Cap Bear 3X (NYSE: BGZ  ) are just a few that look like particularly strong sells.

Thanks to daily rebalancing, these highly levered ETFs are almost guaranteed to underperform the market over the long term. Unless the world economy came to a grinding halt, these ETFs would need weekly carnage to remain profitable in your portfolio. If you own them, now appears like a great time to part ways.

Investing accident
Caution! There could be congestion in your portfolio if you're not careful. As its name implies, Global Traffic Network (Nasdaq: GNET  ) provides news and traffic information to radio and television stations. Last week, private equity firm GTCR solicited an offer to buy Global Traffic for $14 per share, which the company gladly accepted. Now trading just pennies below that level, I have a problem with investors' chances for future gains as well as its valuation.

The buyout values the company at 4.2 times book value and 24 times next year's projected profits. If Global Traffic were somehow growing like wildfire, this valuation might be justified, but considering the company missed its last quarterly EPS estimate by a mile, I'm not so sure. Also take note of the handful of lawsuits that have been filed against the company since it agreed to be acquired. No arbitrage opportunity here, and it wasn't cheap to begin with; how's that for news?

Coffee jitters
You could pretty much have thrown your money at anything in the coffee sector over the past year and made a healthy profit. But things are beginning to look a little jittery, starting with Caribou Coffee (Nasdaq: CBOU  ) .

Caribou operates coffeehouses throughout the U.S., and based on its most recent quarterly filing, things are going OK. However, the recent price action of the stock indicates the company is doing much better than just "OK." Now valued at 34 times forward earnings, and with revenue projected to grow by 11% this year and next, it doesn't appear to be a better value than much larger rival Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) . Starbucks' expected growth rate over the next two years is only marginally lower than Caribou's, but Starbucks carries a lower multiple to earnings. The key point is that Starbucks pays out a dividend and has a much better chance of adjusting to economic weakness than Caribou does, mainly because of its cash on hand. Facts like that would give me the jitters if I were a Caribou shareholder.

What's your take on these companies? Are they sells or belles? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider adding Direxion Basic Materials Bear 3X, Direxion Financials Bear 3X, Direxion Large Cap Bear 3X, Traffic Global Network, and Caribou Coffee to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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 that never needs to be sold short.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (6)

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  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2011, at 5:53 PM, EnigmaDude wrote:

    Perhaps you should have another cup of joe. I think you are missing a big part of the growth story for Caribou. They don't "just" operate coffeehouses in the US. According to Yahoo Finance, It also sells premium whole bean and ground coffee to grocery stores, mass merchandisers, office coffee providers, airlines, hotels, sports and entertainment venues, college campuses, and online customers. They just reported 80% year over year quarterly earnings growth. The return on equity is 47%. I see CBOU as the next GMCR. Forget Starbucks - they were last decade's coffee story.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2011, at 5:16 AM, adcmelb wrote:

    I agree you need to have another cup of coffee so you can wake up and smell the beans - not only is enigmadude correct but the revised earnings are more proof the new management is on the right track, did you also forget there is a distribution agreement with a turkish coffee company, more coffee shop openings, tasty food offerings, and the most important still NO DEBT

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2011, at 9:56 AM, lflb56 wrote:
  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2011, at 12:29 PM, ikkyu2 wrote:

    Think you should have another cup of coffee before taking a whiff of CLCT's 'lofty valuation'. Even after its recent runup it sports a P/E of 9 and a 9% dividend yield. I don't see where that is 'lofty' for a company with a payout ratio under 40%.

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