) -- U.S. indices rose after Federal Reserve policymakers decided to keep the overnight lending rate near zero. Here are three stocks that hit 52-week highs.
3. Plains Exploration & Production
jumped 5.3% to $34.66 on a positive discovery at the Lucius deep-water well in the Gulf of Mexico. Shares of the oil and gas explorer have gained 21% during the past month.
: Third-quarter profit plummeted 92% to $39 million, or 30 cents a share, as revenue dropped 57% to $312 million. The company's operating margin narrowed from 54% to 24%. Plains Exploration has weak liquidity, with just $3.6 million of cash. Its 0.8 debt-to-equity ratio is higher than the industry average, indicating excessive leverage.
: We rate Plains Exploration "sell." The stock has advanced 74% during the past year, more than major U.S. indices. The shares are cheap compared to those of oil and gas peers, based on book value and cash flow. They are expensive based on projected earnings and sales. Our model gives the company a growth score of 1.4 out of 10.
( MHP), owner of
Standard & Poor's
, climbed 4.3% to $35.71, following an upgrade of competitor
. Shares of the publishing and media company have risen 4.1% during the past month.
: Fourth-quarter profit increased 44% to $167 million, or 53 cents a share, as revenue rose 3% to $1.5 billion. McGraw-Hill's net margin widened from 8.2% to 11%. Our model gives McGraw-Hill a financial strength score of 8.9 out of 10, higher than the "buy"-list average. But the company receives a volatility score of just 2.6.
: We rate McGraw-Hill "hold." The stock has appreciated 72% during the past year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The shares are undervalued relative to those of publishing peers, based on trailing earnings, projected earnings and sales. The company's PEG ratio, a measure of value relative to growth expectations, is expensive at 5.3.
inched up 0.4% to $55.05. Shares of the packaged foods company have increased 1.9% during the past month.
: Third-quarter profit increased 6% to $361 million, or 94 cents a share, as revenue declined marginally to $3.2 billion. Kellogg's operating margin widened from 16% to 18%. The company possesses less-than-ideal liquidity, evident in its quick ratio of 0.7. Its 2.6 debt-to-equity ratio reflects a debt-heavy capital structure. Our model gives Kellogg a financial strength score of 7.1 out of 10 due to its consistent results.
: We rate Kellogg "buy." The stock has increased 22% during the past year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The shares are cheap compared to those of food products peers, based on trailing earnings and projected earnings. They are expensive based on book value, sales and cash flow.
-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.