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3 Stocks at 52-Week Highs Still Worth Buying

By Sean Williams, Daniel Miller, and George Budwell – Jul 18, 2016 at 9:36AM

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Contrary to popular belief, some of the market's best deals can currently be found hovering at their 52-week highs.

Image source: Getty Images.

When looking for stocks to buy, investors often focus on companies trading well off their 52-week highs. This is only natural, because traders want to feel as if they're getting good value for their purchase. 

However, there's another angle that investors should consider. Namely, that a stock is likely to be trading at a 52-week high because it's doing a lot of things right. Some runs could certainly be fueled by emotion, but dig below the surface and you're bound to find some well-run businesses trading at 52-week highs that still appear to be exceptional values. 

With this in mind, we asked three of our Foolish contributors to name one company trading at a 52-week high that they believed was still worth buying. Here's what they had to say. 

Still shining through at a 52-week high 

Sean Williams: Typically, investors are looking to buy bargains, not stocks trading at record highs -- but that's not much of a worry when we're talking about gold and silver streaming company Silver Wheaton (WPM -0.34%).

Unlike traditional mining companies that have to put forth money to build out and expand their mines, as well as pay to maintain production, Silver Wheaton chooses to sit back and let the money flow in through its long-term or life-of-mine contracts. In return for upfront cash, or a series of cash payments that allow mining companies to expand or build out a mine, Silver Wheaton receives the ability to purchase produced gold and/or silver at a fraction of the current spot cost.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to the company's first-quarter earnings report, its average gold and silver cash costs per ounce were only $389 and $4.14, respectively. Mind you, gold and silver spot prices are north of $1,350 and $20 an ounce at the moment, meaning everything in between goes right to Silver Wheaton's margins. And because it has such light overhead since it's not directly involved in mine upkeep and build out, Silver Wheaton's margins are truly superior to those of its mining peers. In effect, when gold and silver rise, no company is liable to see more immediate benefits than Silver Wheaton.

At the moment, there's no reason to believe metal prices will cool substantially, either. Low yields around the globe have dramatically reduced the opportunity cost of owning gold or silver, and the uncertainty created by Brexit and the upcoming U.S. elections could fuel these stores of value even higher. Until bond yields improve, there's no reason to believe that gold or silver spot prices will ebb much -- and that's great news for Silver Wheaton and its shareholders.

With its dividend tied to spot prices, I'd also suggest its $0.20 annual payout could climb. It's not often a mining sector company pays a dividend, but Silver Wheaton has the capacity to pay out a dividend approaching 2%, in my opinion.

Just because Silver Wheaton is at a 52-week high doesn't make it any less of a long-term bargain in my eyes.

This Big Pharma is still a buy

George Budwell: Unlike most of its peers in the pharmaceutical industry, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY 0.13%) has been able to shake off the marketwide downturn this year to continue to print new highs. In fact, Bristol's stock is currently at its 52-week high at the time of writing this piece. 

BMY Chart

The drugmaker's unusual strength during this particularly turbulent period for biopharma stocks stems from its new franchise drug Opdivo. Opdivo is an immunotherapy treatment indicated for several cancers, such as advanced skin, lung, and kidney cancer. In the first-quarter of 2016 alone, this single product was able to rake in an impressive $704 million in global sales.

As a result, the Street is forecasting Bristol to grow its top-line by 11.7% this year, and another 12.4% in 2017, making it one of the fastest growing large cap pharma stocks right now. 

Beyond Opdivo, Bristol has also been successful at diversifying its revenue base by ramping up the sales of its hepatitis C product Daklinza, the leukemia drug Sprycel, and the blood thinner Eliquis. The net result is that Bristol sports a solid product portfolio that should continue to generate industry-leading levels of growth for years to come. 

Basic-needs stocks can be big winners

Daniel Miller: It's been quite the transformation for Procter & Gamble (PG 0.18%) investors over the past couple of years as the company shed more than 100 brands, slashing the number in its portfolio from 166 to 65. And while there are plenty of things to talk about when considering P&G for an investment, let's focus on its economic moat.

If you're going to invest in a company near its 52-week high, it's important that the company has an economic moat to sustain its top and bottom line financials. There are few companies that possess intangible assets and the cost advantages that P&G does.

Image source: Procter & Gamble.

Consider the brand power that P&G possesses, and the fact that at the end of 2015 its market share was more than 30% in baby care, 65% in blades and razors, over 30% in feminine protection, and more than 30% in fabric care, according to Morningstar. That means P&G has unusual leverage for a consumer products producer, especially when retailers are cautious about trying unproven brands.

Beyond its brand power, P&G's scale is massive. Consider that the company plans to generate a staggering $10 billion in productivity savings between 2017 and 2021. That makes it incredibly difficult for new brands, or even well-established brands, to compete with P&G's pricing.

P&G isn't for every investor. If you're looking for quick growth, this isn't a stock poised to double anytime soon at a market cap of nearly $230 billion. However, if you're looking for a stock near its 52-week high that is poised to consistently move higher as it generates massive productivity savings and leverages its brand power, look no further -- oh, and it'll pay you a dividend yield of 3.1% to entice you further. 

Daniel MillerGeorge Budwell, and Sean Williams have no position in any stocks mentioned.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Silver Wheaton and recommends Procter and Gamble. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Procter & Gamble Stock Quote
Procter & Gamble
$146.72 (0.18%) $0.27
Bristol Myers Squibb Stock Quote
Bristol Myers Squibb
$79.24 (0.13%) $0.10
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. Stock Quote
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.
$38.46 (-0.34%) $0.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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