It's been a few months since I sorted through the lists of fresh 52-week highs and lows to smoke out winners and losers.
Market sentiment has definitely changed. Back in September, there were just 47 new highs against 368 fresh 52-week lows. It's a whole new world now, as the same exchange has 293 stocks hitting fresh highs and just 58 stocks on the floor.
Worrywarts will argue that the stocks at the top of the range these days are headed for trouble. The future has already been baked in! The stocks just have to be expensive.
Well, I don't agree. I think more than a few of the stocks that rang up 52-week highs last week will continue to climb in the weeks and months to come. Let me go over five names that clocked in with new highs last week that I think may just be getting started.
Last Week's High
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Even penthouses have roofs
Let's start at the top with Callaway Golf.
It's been a long time since Callaway revolutionized the game of golf with its oversized yet lightweight Big Bertha drivers. The allure is gone, but Callaway still sells a broad line of premium golf clubs and related gear.
On the surface, it would seem as if the company's in a nasty sand trap. Callaway has posted wider-than-expected losses in its two previous quarters, and its stock hasn't traded in the double digits in nearly two years. However, we're also heading into golf season now that the weather is starting to warm up, and analysts see healthy profitability for Callaway at this point. The recession held back a lot of casual golfers from spending on new equipment, and pent-up demand should be strong for Callaway's lines. Analysts see net income of just $0.09 a share this year, but then see that more than tripling to $0.28 a share come 2013.
NetEase is one of China's largest players in online gaming. NetEase arms the world's most populous nation with multiplayer fantasy games and other diversions including a popular Internet portal that's a huge hub of free email accounts.
There are no signs of NetEase slowing down. Revenue and earnings per share climbed 28% and 25%, respectively, in its latest quarter. Despite the heady growth, shares of the Chinese speedster can still be had for 13 times this year's projected profitability and less than 12 times next year's bottom-line target.
Chipotle is a more familiar name. Drive by one of the burrito joints and you'll likely find a long yet fast-moving queue. Chipotle has managed to post positive comps even during the darkest recessionary stretches. Folks didn't flinch when Chipotle raised prices to pass along rising commodity prices, and customers didn't stop coming after the company's hiring practices came under fire in some markets. If Chipotle's doing well now, imagine how it will hold up when the hungry can afford more than just weekly burrito runs.
Priceline is the travel portal that makes its peers look like laggards. Revenue and adjusted earnings soared 36% and 58%, respectively, in its latest quarter. Most of priceline.com's bookings are actually coming from its overseas operations these days, but that only makes the dot-com darling a strong global play on travel.
Finally, we have Apple. I presented a bullish argument for Apple -- even at these lofty heights -- earlier today. I won't repeat myself, but I'll add one more point.
It's true that Apple's stock has been racing higher in recent months, but so have analyst profit targets as they scramble to keep up with a company that outside of a rare quarter last year has routinely blasted through expectations. Three months ago, the pros were forecasting a profit of $34.77 a share this fiscal year and $38.96 a share in fiscal 2013. Today, those targets stand at $43.90 and $49.61, respectively. As long as that's the direction that Wall Street is heading, how can you refuse Apple at just 12 times next year's earnings?
Keep reaching for the stars
All five of these companies have come through with monster runs to reach these lofty heights. If you want to get an early read on some of tomorrow's major gainers there's a special report on three hidden winners in a booming industry. The report is free -- like this article -- but it won't be around forever, so check it out now.