5 Stocks Hitting 52-Week Highs: PAY, RHT, VMW, EBAY, CHKP

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - These stocks hit 52-week highs on Thursday: eBay ( EBAY), VeriFone ( PAY), Red Hat ( RHT), VMware ( VMW) and Check Point ( CHKP).

eBay

The online marketplace operator reported first-quarter earnings of $725 million, or 55 cents a share. Analysts, on average, anticipated 52 cents a share in earnings.

"Rev./adj. EPS at $3.28bn/$0.55 was above Street at $3.15bn/$0.52 driven bystrength across all segments, and 2Q guidance (our concern into results) was inline with street at high end," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "While not a big 2012 est. change (eBay raised full year EPS guidance by just 2%), a cleaner than usual quarter and we continue to expect a strong 2H for eBay with multiple product catalysts (see below) which could continue improve sentiment on eBay & PayPal's position in eCommerce."

Shares of eBay hit a 52-week high Thursday of $41.84 The stock's 52-week low of $26.86 was set on Aug. 19.

eBay shares trade at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 15.18 times; the average for specialized consumer service companies is 15.31X.

Twenty-four of the 35 analysts who cover eBay rate it at buy; 11 analysts give the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives eBay an A grade with a buy rating and $42.55 price target. The stock has risen 33.56% year to date.

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VeriFone

Shares of VeriFone hit a 52-week high Thursday of $55.89. The stock's 52-week low of $30.25 was set on Aug. 22.

VeriFone shares trade at a forward P/E of 16.54X; the average for computer hardware companies is 16.74X. For comparison, Western Digital ( WDC) has a lower forward P/E of 5.08X.

Eight of the 12 analysts who cover VeriFone rate it at buy. Three analysts give the stock a hold rating and one rates it at sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives VeriFone a B grade with a buy rating and $62.89 price target. The stock has risen 51.27% year to date.


Red Hat

Shares of Red Hat hit a 52-week high Thursday of $62.75. The stock's 52-week low of $31.77 was set on Aug. 19.

Red Hat's shares trade at a forward P/E of 42.51X; the average for software companies is 30.55X. For comparison, Intuit ( INTU) has a lower forward P/E of 18.12X.

Sixteen of the 24 analysts who cover Red Hat rate it at buy. Seven analysts give the stock a hold rating and one rates it at sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Red Hat a B grade with a buy rating and $70.24 price target. The stock has risen 44.78% year to date.

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VMware

The company reported its first-quarter earnings Wednesday of $191 million, or 44 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $126 million, or 29 cents a share.

"The company cited caution relating to the macroeconomic environment in Europe and US Federal spending, but believes it is aligned with secular growth trends," Piper Jaffray analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "We believe VMware is properly positioned to benefit from growth in public and private clouds."

Shares of VMware hit a 52-week high Thursday of $118.79. The stock's 52-week low of $74.69 was set on Dec. 21.

VMware shares trade at a forward P/E of 36.49X; the average for software companies is 30.79X. For comparison, Adobe ( ADBE) has a lower forward P/E of 12.36X.

Twenty-six of the 40 analysts who cover VMware rate it at buy. Thirteen analysts give the stock a hold rating and one rates it at sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives VMware an A- grade with a buy rating and $125.98 price target. The stock has risen 36.52% year to date.


Check Point

Shares of Check Point hit a 52-week high Thursday of $65. The stock's 52-week low of $47.79 was set on Aug. 9.

Check Point shares trade at a forward P/E of 18.35X; the average for software companies is 14.62X.

Twenty-one of the 31 analysts who cover Check Point rate it at buy; 10 analysts give the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Check Point an A grade with a buy rating and $76.28 price target. The stock has risen 21.63% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian in New York.

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