With more than half the stocks in the S&P 500 at or near 52-week highs -- and the index itself currently at its highest level since September 2008 -- it's tempting to conclude that you can't find any stocks at a reasonable price, much less a bargain price. Companies trading near 52-week highs may appear particularly pricey. But as Philip Fisher admonishes in Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, this type of thinking can be a mistake:

By giving heavy emphasis to the "stock that hasn't gone up yet" they [investors] are unconsciously subscribing to the delusion that all stocks go up about the same amount and that the one that has already risen a lot will not climb further, while the one that has not yet gone up has something "due" it.

A closer look last week at S&P 500 stocks at or near their 52-week highs showed 159 trade at a forward P/E below 15. Narrowing the focus further, 48 members of that group are also expected to post double-digit earnings growth this year and next year. Here is a sample of those stocks:


Market Cap (Billions)

Recent 52-Week High

Forward P/E

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY)





C.R. Bard (NYSE: BCR)





Family Dollar





Hasbro (NYSE: HAS)










St. Jude Medical





Source: Finviz.com, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

All of the companies listed above have a return on equity north of 20%. They all have some debt on the balance sheet, but they have generous interest coverage ratios. Ironically, despite all of these stocks' being near 52-week highs and having experienced significant rebounds from their lows over the past year, only Hasbro outperformed the S&P 500 index.

Since the liquidation of Circuit City, Best Buy has benefited from reduced competition. Another cycle of television upgrades that's on the horizon, courtesy of 3-D technology, could easily bolster future sales. Meanwhile, Hasbro is extending a stable of iconic toy and game brands from GI Joe and Transformers to Scrabble into the digital world, ensuring their relevance to another generation of kids and kids-at-heart. Finally, C. R. Bard's leadership in disposable medical products such as catheters used in the urology, vascular, and oncology fields should benefit from an aging population. And broader health insurance coverage among the population could help spur higher profit growth.

Even with these potential upsides, don't take them as specific recommendations -- do your own research. But they do illustrate that there are still opportunities to be had, despite the market's gains and new highs in individual stocks.  

More Foolish thoughts on market highs and investing strategy:

Fool contributor April Taylor does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Best Buy is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on PepsiCo, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Hasbro, both of which are both Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.