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Nearly 500 companies hit new 52-week highs on the NYSE Wednesday as this rally continues to sprout new legs and shrug off any weakness. For bulls, these rallies may seem like a dream come true. For skeptics like me, they're opportunities to see whether companies trading near their 52-week highs really deserve their current valuations.
Keep in mind that some companies deserve their lofty prices. Discount grocer Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO ) spiked dramatically this week after receiving a private equity takeover offer. Speculation now is that other suitors may follow, creating a potential bidding war. But some companies potentially deserve a kick in the pants. Here's a look at three companies that could be worth selling.
Biotech Forest Labs (NYSE: FRX ) has crept to new 52-week highs this week despite what looks like a grim future for its pipeline. Forest Labs' two blockbuster drugs, Lexapro for depression and Namenda for Alzheimer's, accounted for more than 85% of total revenue in its most recent quarter.
Unfortunately for Forest Labs, both drugs are due to come off patent within the next four years, meaning generic competitors Teva Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: TEVA ) and Mylan (Nasdaq: MYL ) will be free to step in and eat away market share. Forest Labs' only saving grace is its cash reserve, which amounts to $13 per share. The company could use that money for acquisitions or further research and development. Until the future looks clearer, though, it seems like a sticky situation I'd just as soon avoid.
You've got mail
I have a hard time remembering the last time I mailed anything, but Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI ) shareholders are celebrating as if the Internet never existed. The mailstream equipment, software, and services provider continues to dazzle investors with a premium dividend above 5%, but it hasn't delivered on the growth front lately. Operating margins have decreased sequentially four years in a row, and revenue has fallen in the past two years. Let's face it, the mail business isn't exciting, even with newer mail technology applications. Unless you're in Pitney Bowes for the dividend, it might be time to listen to the folks who've built up a 19.5 million-share short interest in the stock and exit stage left.
Look up here
Lamar Advertising (Nasdaq: LAMR ) is apparently good at what it does; the company has sold investors on the idea that it deserves a $3.8 billion market cap despite being unprofitable and saddled with nearly $2.5 billion in debt. My concern stems from its falling revenue over the past two years as well as uncertainty still related to the health of the small-business sector, from which Lamar derives much of its business. Until Lamar is turning a healthy profit or we see a strong rebound in small-business growth, I'd consider looking elsewhere.
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