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The market indexes may be in danger of falling for the seventh straight week, yet a quick scan using the Motley Fool CAPS stock screener revealed more than 230 companies still trading within 4% of a new 52-week high. For optimists, 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 have actually earned their current valuations.
Keep in mind that some companies deserve their lofty valuations. Shares of Timberland (NYSE: TBL ) , a Rising Star buy of fellow Fool Alyce Lomax, stomped short-sellers into a pulp this week following news that V.F. Corp. (NYSE: VFC ) has offered to purchase the company for about $2 billion. This deal brings the Timberland and North Face brands under the same umbrella, and Wall Street seems to like the move.
Still, some companies might deserve a kick in the pants. Here's a look at three companies that could be worth selling.
Trading on hope
Don't try telling shareholders of Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq: PCYC ) that it needs an actual product to trade at a new 52-week high. The company has been trading higher almost daily following a press release last week regarding positive results of its Btk inhibitor, which is aimed at treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia. But what are shareholders really buying?
PCI-32765, Pharmacyclics' primary drug, just completed its phase 1B/2 study, meaning it's still likely years away from potentially hitting the market. Despite this, Pharmacyclics shareholders have tagged the company with a market valuation in excess of $500 million, even though it's burned through $24 million in operating cash flow in the past year. Even the options market has taken notice of Pharmacyclics' lofty valuation, with a significant increase in near-term put activity. It may be time to throw in the towel on Pharmacyclics until we see some late-stage clinical results.
Many so-called market enthusiasts, myself included, felt we had seen the last of Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX ) in 2009. There didn't seem to be much of a chance of a rubber shoe with holes surviving the label of being a fad in a declining spending environment, but somehow Crocs did it. Not only did Crocs survive; the company has been thriving since its lows of 2009, hitting a new 52-week high this week. But is now the time to again step away from Crocs?
I think so, even in light of stronger-than-expected results over the past year. Mall retailers have performed particularly poorly since the start of the year, and the only expectations they've been beating are in the excuse department. Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO ) and Gap are just two of many names to report weaker consumer spending. Rather than waiting for those weaker consumer trends to trickle down to Crocs, I'd suggest leaving this potential fad now rather than later.
Konami (NYSE: KNM ) shareholders have something to say about the so-called downfall of the gaming industry: "What downfall?" Shares of the low-volume gaming company are within a stone's throw of a new 52-week high despite the tragic earthquake in Japan three months ago.
That's why I would exercise considerable caution about a gaming company based in Japan. A Reuters report indicates that in March alone, Japan's gaming industry lost $87 million in revenue because of the tragedy. Recent trading action in Mad Catz Interactive (Nasdaq: MCZ ) and Majestic Entertainment suggests many of these gaming stocks are losing steam. It may be the time to power-off Konami for the time being.
This week it's all about looking ahead. If profits are still years away, or if consumer spending in rival companies is faltering, it may be time to consider selling.
What's your opinion: Are these stocks sells or belles? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider adding Pharmacyclics, Crocs, and Konami to your watchlist to keep up on the latest news with these stocks and their respective sectors.