WCG, CL, SJM, PRX Hit 52-Week Highs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of the following stocks hit 52-week highs on Friday: Colgate-Palmolive ( CL), J.M. Smucker ( SJM), WellCare Health ( WCG) and Par Pharmaceutical ( PRX).

Colgate-Palmolive

"Solid organic growth momentum through 2H11 should carry into 2012 and the year is off to a good start," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a Feb. 24 report. "Sales should be driven by a combination of strong premium-priced innovation andadvertising support (should grow more than sales in 2012). Half of 2012 pricing is a rollover from 2011. Management maintains a strong focus on cost control through its Funding the Growth ROI-focused program. Investors should see sequential gross margin improvement through the year. This should collectively drive currency-neutral double-digit EPS growth."

Shares of Colgate-Palmolive hit a 52-week high Friday of $97.56. The stock's 52-week low of $78.62 was set on Aug. 9.

Colgate-Palmolive has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 16.53 times; the average for personal products companies is 15.54. For comparison, both Kimberly-Clark ( KMB) and Avon ( AVP) have lower forward P/Es of 13.49 and 11.35, respectively.

Sixteen of the 25 analysts who cover Colgate-Palmolive rated it hold. Seven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Colgate-Palmolive an A grade with a buy rating and a $115.06 price target. The stock has risen 5.34% year to date.

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J.M. Smucker

"One theme we heard was that management may not need Arabica/Robusta prices to go any lower to significantly boost earnings in the critical coffee segment," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a March 12 report. "And we got the sense that management may think prices could go even lower, which theoretically might help penny profits even more and support margins. We believe that management envisions FY13 having nowhere near the COGS headwinds FY12 experienced. This supports our belief that SJM, more than perhaps any other company we cover, could have a food input cost tailwind this year, rather than just less of a headwind."

Shares of J.M. Smucker hit a 52-week high of $81.55 on Friday. The stock's 52-week low of $66.43 was set on Aug. 26.

J.M. Smucker's forward P/E is 15.74; the average for food products companies is 13.8. For comparison, H.J. Heinz ( HNZ) has a lower forward P/E of 14.87; Sara Lee's ( SLE) forward P/E is 20.62.

Ten of the 16 analysts who cover J.M. Smucker rated it hold. Six analysts gave the stock a buy rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives J.M. Smucker an A grade with a buy rating and a $99.70 price target. The stock has risen 3.62% year to date.


WellCare Health

"The company could also see competition from non-profit competitors in the upcoming RFP pipeline, which could lead to lower rates," Wedbush analysts wrote in a March 26 report. "An additional risk is the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act."

Shares of WellCare Health hit a 52-week high of $72.27 on Friday. The stock's 52-week high of $33.29 on Oct. 4.

WellCare Health's forward P/E is 13.94; the average for health care providers is 17.99. For comparison, both Coventry Health ( CVH) and Amerigroup ( AGP) have lower forward P/Es of 10.1 and 13.29 times.

Nine of the 14 analysts who cover WellCare Health rated it hold; five analysts gave the stock a buy rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives WellCare Health a B grade with a buy rating and a $85.29 price target. The stock has risen 37.37% year to date.

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Par Pharmaceutical

"We see Par as well positioned to expand upon its relatively niche position in a very healthy US generic market with the recent Anchen and Edict acquisitions," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a March 16 report. "Unlike some of its larger competitors, Par has ample opportunity, we believe, to profitably expand its US generic market share through its current product pipeline and targeted acquisitions. That said, we see growth prospects for the combined Par business in line with our generic coverage universe and a fairly balanced risk/reward for PRX shares at current levels (roughly 10x 2012E EPS)."

Shares of Par Pharmaceutical hit a 52-week high Friday of $39.42. The stock's 52-week low of $24.85 was st on Sept. 22.

Par Pharmaceutical's forward P/E is 10.07; the average for pharmaceutical companies is 22.22. For comparison, Medicis Pharmaceutical ( MRX) and Vivus ( VVUS) both have higher forward P/Es of 12.13 and 48.24, respectively.

Eight of the 12 analysts who cover Par Pharmaceutical rated it buy. Four analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Par Pharmaceutical a B grade with a buy rating and a $42.43 price target. The stock has risen 19.16% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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