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UAL, Lincare, Sara Lee Rise to Highs

UAL, Lincare and Sara Lee hit 52-week highs on Wednesday.
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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock-market indices suffered another down day. Here are three stocks that hit 52-week highs despite economic pessimism.

3. UAL Corp.

(UAUA)

, owner of United Air Lines, climbed to a high of $15.76, but closed flat at $15.36. Shares of the airline operator rallied 15% during the past month.

The numbers

: UAL's fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $240 million, or $1.44 a share, from a loss of $1.3 billion, or $10, a year earlier. Revenue dropped 7.8% to $4.2 billion. UAL's operating margin improved to 1.7%. The model awards UAL a financial-strength score of 1.5 out of 10.

The stock

: We rate UAL "sell." The stock appreciated 87% during the past year, outperforming major U.S. indices. The shares are cheap relative to those of airline peers based on projected earnings. A shareholders' deficit prohibits other valuation measures. UAL suffered losses in eight of the past nine quarters, meriting a growth score of 1.7 out of 10.

2. Lincare

(LNCR)

, which released quarterly numbers on Monday, rose 0.8% to $40.26. Shares of the health-care-services company returned 6.9% in the past month.

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The numbers

: Fourth-quarter net income decreased 30% to $41 million, and earnings per share dropped 23% to 61 cents, cushioned by a lower share count. Revenue declined 2.2% to $406 million. Lincare's operating margin fell to 19%. The company's cash balance has grown 9% to $79 million since the year-earlier period. The model awards Lincare a financial-strength score of 8.5 out of 10.

The stock

: We rate Lincare "buy." The stock advanced 58% during the past year, beating major U.S. indices and earning a performance score of 7 out of 10. The shares are undervalued in comparison to those of health-care-service peers based on projected earnings. They're expensive when considering trailing earnings, book value and sales. During the past three years, Lincare has increased revenue 3.2% annually, on average.

1. Sara Lee

(SLE)

jumped 2.2% to $12.93. Shares of the food-products company appreciated 7.8% during the past month.

The numbers

: Sara Lee swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit of $371 million, or 43 cents a share, from a loss of $17 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier. Revenue increased marginally to $2.9 billion. Sara Lee's operating margin extended from 5.9% to 11%. Its debt-to-equity ratio of 1 indicates a balanced capital structure.

The stock

: We rate Sara Lee "buy." The stock appreciated 45% in the past 12-months, outpacing major U.S. indices. The shares are cheap relative to those of food-products peers based on all of our valuation measures, including trailing earnings, projected earnings, book value, sales and cash flow. The stock's PEG ratio, a measure of value relative to growth, is low at 0.2. The industry average is 0.8.

-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.