There's a theory on Wall Street that a stock setting new high will continue to do so for a while -- and that stocks setting new 52-week lows will continue to plumb the depths. This kind of momentum is partially technical but also largely driven by big news including buyouts, big sales deals or other attention-grabbing headlines. To help you get on the right side of these momentum plays, here's a list of five big name stocks setting new 52-week highs lately. But please note than when it comes to 52-week highs there are sometimes as many reasons to be wary as there are reasons to think the profits will keep flowing. Some stocks surge after an acquisition and will soon stop trading. Others have big short interest, which means many are betting on a flop to occur soon. Keep in mind that these stocks here are not recommendations, just picks up against new highs as of this writing.
BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ)
Industry: Retail Market cap: $2.4 billion 52-week high: $45.00 Price as of 7/20 close: $44.91 BJ's Wholesale Club ( BJ) operates 187 discount warehouse clubs in 15 states in the eastern U.S. The retailer also offers numerous specialty services, including optical centers, food courts, auto services and electronics departments to name a few. BJ's stock is up 37% year-to-date, and has fared better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 which are down 1.9% and 2.8% respectively. BJ's stock has been climbing as of late due to renewed buyout chatter, although there are no formal suitors yet as of this writing.
Industry: Healthcare Market cap: $9.5 billion 52-week high: $59.75 Price as of 7/20 close: $57.46 Hospira ( HSP) is a healthcare company specializing in the delivery of various pharmaceutical products and medications. Some of its most profitable designs and products deal with acute care and oncology (that's cancer care). Hospira operates all over the world and has seen its stock rise 12.7% since the start of 2010 -- significantly better than the market. Biotech giant Genzyme ( GENZ) recently expanded its manufacturing deal with Hospira, lending strength to shares.
Edwards Lifesciences (EW)
Industry: Healthcare Market cap: $6.3 billion 52-week high: $57.22 Price as of 7/20 close: $55.58 Edwards Lifesciences ( EW) is a leading global company in the development of products and technologies for the treatment of advanced cardiovascular disease. Its four main categories of product design are: Heart Valve Therapy, Critical Care, Cardiac Surgery Systems and Vascular. Edwards Lifesciences rallied about 7% from its previous earnings report, and it appears shares are showing strength in anticipation of the next EW earnings after the bell on July 21. As of July 20, EW's shares had gained 27.4% year-to-date, outperforming the broader markets, which are down slightly on the year.
Industry: Energy Market cap: $2.1 billion 52-week high: $36.00 Price as of 7/20 close: $35.47 Alliance Holdings ( AHGP) is a Delaware limited partnership, which produces and sells coal to major U.S. utilities. Shares are up 27% so far this year on strong earnings, optimism of an economic recovery boosting coal demand and general investor demand for a stock with a plush 5.4% dividend yield. The stock is showing strength in anticipation of its July 26 earnings report, and could continue to push higher in the weeks ahead if results are good.
Plains All American Pipeline (PAA)
Industry: Energy Market cap: $8.6 52-week high: $63.97 Price as of 7/20 close: $63.34 Plains All American Pipeline ( PAA) is engaged in the transportation, storage and sale of crude oil and other natural gas. The company completed public offering of senior notes at the beginning of July, raising $400 million, and it's been off to the races from there with shares up 8% so far on the month. Like Alliance, PAA has seen strong demand not only due to optimism over energy demand but because of strong buying pressure due to a big dividend. PAA stock currently yields nearly 6%.