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4 Stocks Hitting 52-Week Highs: MSFT, ALXN, DLTR, LULU

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Whole Foods Market

The supermarket operator reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $118.3 million, or 65 cents a share, on Wednesday, beating Wall Street's consensus view by a nickel.

"A better than expected 1Q12 appears to be further evidence that Whole Foods is hitting on all cylinders as steady, robust sales meet impressive cost controls and margin performance," Jefferies analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "With secular trends providing a nice tailwind, we believe Whole Foods will continue its strong sales and earnings growth through FY13 and beyond."

Shares of Whole Foods Market hit a 52-week high of $82.36 on Thursday. The stock's 52-week low of $52.52 was set a year ago.

Whole Foods Market has a forward P/E of 30.65X; the average for its peers is 30.62X. For comparison, Sysco (SYY) and Kroger (KR) both have lower forward P/Es of 14.24X and 10.67X respectively.

Fourteen of the 24 analysts who cover the company rated it a buy. Nine gave Whole Foods Market a hold rating and one rated it a sell.

Whole Foods Market gets an A grade from TheStreet Ratings and $99.23 price target. The stock has increased 18.29% year to date.

Dollar Tree

The discounted retailer was initiated with an overweight rating and a $100 price target by JPMorgan on Thursday.

"In our view, DLTR represents a multi-year core portfolio holding with sustainable 20%+ EPS growth driven by a rare combination of (1) top-line (+ traffic & ticket, HSD Sq Ft growth; $50K+ core base), (2) margin expansion (GPM & SG&A drivers), and (3) balance sheet levers (6.5% FCF yield, 15.5% debt/cap)," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Taking a step back, DLTR's investment profile is among the best in retail today given consistency and growth - more than justifying the next leg higher for shares, in our view."

Shares of Dollar Tree hit a 52-week high on Thursday of $86.87. The stock's 52-week low of $48.51 was set on Feb. 23.

Dollar Tree has a forward P/E of 18.14X; the average for specialty retailers is 16.8X. Both Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Best Buy (BBY) have lower forward P/Es of 13.62X and 6.83X respectively.

Fourteen of the 24 analysts who cover the stock rated it a buy. Ten analysts gave Dollar Tree a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Dollar Tree an A grade and has a $112.91 price target on the shares. The stock has increased 4.43% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alexandra Zendrian

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Alexandra Zendrian.

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ALXN $181.66 -2.20%
DLTR $79.60 0.21%
LULU $62.30 -3.92%
MSFT $42.36 -1.74%
AAPL $126.60 0.15%


DOW 17,856.78 -278.94 -1.54%
S&P 500 2,071.26 -29.78 -1.42%
NASDAQ 4,927.37 -55.4390 -1.11%

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