4 Stocks Hit 52-Week Highs: ESS, SHW, BBT, CNI

Updated to correct BB&T 52-week high.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks hit 52-week highs on Tuesday: Essex Property Trust ( ESS), Sherwin-Williams ( SHW), BB&T ( BBT) and Canadian National Railway ( CNI).

Essex Property Trust

"ESS's CEO, Michael Schall, commented that we are in the 3rd or 4th inning of the recovery," Citi analysts wrote in a March 12 report. "ESS expects a strong 2012, a very strong 2013, and a strong 2014. Overall, a slow and steady recovery with a low cost of capital is a good operating environment. Thus far in 2012, operations are accelerating after the typical seasonal slowdown experienced in the winter. While not ready to update guidance, ESS remains on track as they believe they are on the same seasonal path as last year and early results make them even more confident on the outlook. In general, seasonality in the business has become more pronounced given the proliferation of price optimizers. ESS does not see supply as a key issue for at least the next several years. We are currently at a 25 year low in total supply - which includes for sale and for rent. Given the long entitlement process on the West coast, there will be plenty of signs of oncoming supply."

Shares of Essex Property Trust hit a 52-week high Tuesday of $158.51. The stock's 52-week low of $111.25 was set on Oct. 4.

Essex Property Trust trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 60.9 times; the average for residential real estate investment trusts is 47.53. For comparison, AvalonBay Communities ( AVB) has a lower forward P/E of 45.16.

Sixteen of the 26 analysts who cover Essex Property Trust gave the stock a hold rating. Nine analysts rated the stock buy and one gave it a sell rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Essex Property Trust a C grade and hold rating. The stock has risen 12.28% year to date.

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Sherwin-Williams

"We continue to believe SHW is one of the better names in the chemicals/ materials space and should enjoy solid earnings growth as the housing markets recover," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a report Monday. "However, with the stock at over 10.5X 2013 EBITDA (and 16.6X P/E) we believe the street is already factoring in numbers that are well above the formal guidance on the expectation for moderate raw material pressure and a pick up in housing leading to significant earnings leverage. As a result, while we are raising our target price to $110, we are maintaining our Underperform rating."

Shares of Sherwin-Williams hit a 52-week high Tuesday of $119.31. The stock's 52-week low of $69.47 was set on Aug. 19.

Sherwin-Williams' forward P/E is 16.14; the average for building materials and fixtures companies is 25.44. For comparison, Valspar ( VAL) has a lower forward P/E of 14.03.

Ten of the 16 analysts who cover Sherwin-Williams rated it hold. Three analysts gave the stock a buy rating and another three rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Sherwin-Williams an A grade with a buy rating and $143.44 price target. The stock has risen 32.65% year to date.


BB&T

"We believe BBT carries one of the strongest regional banking franchises in thecountry," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in an April 20 report. "Elevated foreclosure-related costs as a result of real-estate exposures remain a near-term hindrance to ROE and multiple expansion, however."

Shares of BB&T hit a 52-week high Tuesday of $32. The stock's 52-week low of $18.92 was set on Aug. 23.

BB&T's forward P/E is 10.65; the average for its peers is 10.81. For comparison, Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) has a lower forward P/E of 9.33.

Twenty-five of the 40 analysts who cover BB&T rated it hold. Twelve analysts gave the stock a buy rating and three rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives BB&T an A- grade with a buy rating and $35.92 price target. The stock has risen 26.02% year to date.

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Canadian National Railway

Canaccord analysts raised their rating on Canadian National Railway's stock to buy from hold on Monday.

"We boosted our forecast based on the stronger than expected sales andmargin performance and apparent upside for the rest of the year," Canaccord analysts wrote. "We increased our target based on our higher forecast. We raised our ratingto BUY from Hold due to the good 16.5% potential return on revenue to our one-yeartarget (and 28% potential RoR to our two-year target)."

Shares of Canadian National Railway hit a 52-week high Tuesday of $82.65. The stock's 52-week low of $61.82 was set on Sept. 22.

Canadian National Railway's forward P/E is 13.55; the average for railroads is 13.84. For comparison, Canadian Pacific Railway ( CP) has a higher forward P/E of 14.13.

Sixteen of the 28 analysts who cover Canadian National Railway rated it hold. Seven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and five rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Canadian National Railway an A grade with a buy rating and $96.95 price target. The stock has risen 4.66% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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