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. Materials is one of them. The largest players are dominated by commodities and chemicals companies.

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)

BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP)





Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE)





Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO)





Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX)





Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX)





DuPont (NYSE: DD)





PotashCorp (NYSE: POT)





Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Yahoo! Finance.

It's a who's who of large commodities players on this list. There are some reasonable multiples represented here, but earnings tend to whipsaw with commodities prices, so macro considerations are especially important in this space. Fellow Fool Christopher Barker follows the space closely. Check out his article: Why Mining Fortunes Are Yet to Be Made.

As far as materials go, I'm more intrigued by the steel players I highlighted when I looked at the 52-week lows list, though.

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.

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

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