3. American Express
rose 1% to $44.99, hitting a high of $45.06. It has gained 10% during the past month. The credit-card company is scheduled to report first-quarter results on April 22.
: Fourth-quarter net income tripled to $716 million and earnings per share doubled to 59 cents, restrained by a higher share count. Revenue declined 3.5%. The operating margin extended to 15%. A debt-to-equity ratio of 3.8 indicates excessive leverage.
: American Express has more than doubled during the past year, beating U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 14, 27% less than the industry average. It's expensive based on book value, sales and cash flow.
: Of analysts covering American Express, 14, or 50%, advise purchasing its shares, 11 recommend holding and three suggest selling them.
expects the stock to advance 25% to $56.
predicts it will hit $51.
2. Home Depot
climbed 2.6% to $34.35, hitting $34.62. It has risen 5.9% during the past month. The home-improvement retailer will release quarterly numbers on May 17.
: Home Depot swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $342 million, or 18 cents, from a loss of $54 million a year earlier. Revenue declined marginally. The operating margin inched up to 4.9%. A quick ratio of 0.2 indicates weak liquidity.
: Home Depot has increased 32% during the past year, trailing major benchmarks. It sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 15 and a price-to-book ratio of 2.9, 11% and 9% discounts to industry averages. It's also cheap based on sales.
: Among researchers following Home Depot, 19, or 63%, rate its stock "buy," nine rate it "hold" and two rate it "sell."
projects a price of $36.50, a potential 7% gain.
expects the shares to hit $36.
1. General Electric
gained 1.3% to $18.95, hitting a high of $19.13. The stock has risen 11% during the past month. GE is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Friday.
: Fourth-quarter profit decreased 19% to $3 billion, or 28 cents, as revenue dropped 11% to $41 billion. The operating margin narrowed from 23% to 17%. GE has $78 billion of cash and $510 billion of debt, amounting to a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.3.
: GE has advanced 56% during the past year, more than U.S. indices. It trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 15 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.7, 17% and 23% discounts to peer-group averages. It's also cheap based on cash flow.
: Of firms rating GE, eight advocate purchasing its shares and nine counsel holding them.
predict the stock will touch $22, leaving a potential 16% gain.
says it could rise to $21.
-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.