I love bargain stocks, especially when they're hitting 52-week lows. Still, it can be instructive to also look at stocks that are riding high. For one thing, they can make good sell candidates. More optimistically, we may be able to find a few companies that can continue their upward climbs.

In this series, I'll be searching industry-by-industry for stocks reaching 52-week highs. That way, we'll be able to make a few quick comparisons among semi-related companies.

There are 24 industry groups as defined by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). Commercial and professional services is one of them.

Below are the top seven companies in this space (by market cap) that are within spitting distance of their 52-week highs.


Recent Price

52-week Low

52-week High

P/E Ratio (Trailing)

Waste Management (NYSE: WM)





Republic Services (NYSE: RSG)





Stericycle (Nasdaq: SRCL)





Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq: VRSK)





Manpower (NYSE: MAN)










Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY)





Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data as of October 25, 2010.

Trash is hot!

The biggest three 52-week warriors are all trash collection companies. I wrote about Waste Management and Republic Services a few months ago and named one of them "One pretty darn compelling stock." I wrote:

"With the industry consolidated into an effective duopoly, both of these companies are in an excellent position. They provide essential services in an industry that has built-in barriers to entry (it takes three to seven years and loads of "not in my backyard" headaches to get a zoning permit for a landfill). Their duopoly also gives them an above-average ability to raise prices." 

Even though they're at 52-week highs, the stocks aren't up much from when I wrote the article in April.

If you are interested in reading more about any of these stocks, add them to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis on them.

Or if you want to see the 52-week lows list, click here.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned. He posts his favorite articles on his Twitter feed.

Waste Management is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Stericycle is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Republic Services and Waste Management are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write covered straddle position on Waste Management. 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.