NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks hit 52-week highs on Thursday: AT&T ( T), Raytheon ( RTN), American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO), Mead Johnson Nutrition ( MJN), Williams ( WMB), Cirrus Logic ( CRUS), Taiwan Semiconductor ( TSM), AutoZone ( AZO) and Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI).
AT&T The telecommunications company reported first-quarter earnings on Tuesday of $3.58 billion, or 60 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $3.41 billion, or 57 cents. "We view handset upgrade discipline as the most important factor for investor sentiment in wireless," Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a report Tuesday. "AT&T's 1Q results were supportive, with handset upgrades at only 7%, and margins exceeded expectations as a result. Handset upgrades historically had a more positive connotation for AT&T, as smartphone penetration was low and upgrades carried a high probability of incremental ARPU. At this point, with smartphone penetration at 60%, we believe the company should be focused on lowering the upgrade rate. We believe 2Q and 3Q are each set for lower than average upgrade rates (7.6%/6.8% versus 8.7% average over the last 3 years), hence creating a more supportive margin backdrop for AT&T and likely the industry over that timeframe, with the iPhone 5 launch in early 4Q likely the next risk factor for sentiment." Shares of AT&T hit a 52-week high Thursday of $32.39. The stock's 52-week low of $27.29 was set on Sept. 12. AT&T trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 12.61 times; the average for fixed-line telecommunications companies is 24.35. For comparison, Verizon ( VZ) has a higher forward P/E of 14.34. Twenty-two of the 39 analysts who cover AT&T rated it hold. Fifteen analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives AT&T a B grade with a buy rating and $35.50 price target. The stock has risen 6.81% year to date.
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Williams The energy infrastructure company reported Wednesday first-quarter earnings of $348 million, or 85 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $307 million, or 81 cents. "We issued a report on WMB and WPZ on April 1, 2012 related to the Caiman Acquisition that included our updated models and outlook," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a report Wednesday. "We expect to revise the modeling further based upon the earnings reports and the upcoming Williams Analyst Day, May 22. In advance of that we are maintaining our estimates for WMB and WPZ while noting the increase in commodity leverage to both ethylene margins and ethane prices." Shares of Williams hit a 52-week high of $33.85 on Thursday. The stock's 52-week low of $17.88 was set on Oct. 4. Williams has a forward P/E of 20.56; the average for pipeline companies is 45.25. For comparison, Enterprise Products Partners ( EPD) has a lower forward P/E of 20.22. Fourteen of the 16 analysts who cover Williams rated it buy. One analyst gave the stock a hold rating and another rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Williams a B- grade with a buy rating and $38.14 price target. The stock has risen 1.91% year to date.
Taiwan Semiconductor The semiconductor company said Thursday its first-quarter earnings declined 7.7%, but added that 2012 would be a year of "solid growth." "TSMC noted that its 1Q12 sales were up q/q versus three months ago view that it could be down," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "TSMC's customer order momentum also remained strong in 1Q12, and helped TSMC guide 2Q12 revenue up sharply by 19-21% q/q. In addition, TSMC commented that its forecast for order intake in 2Q12 also remains strong, which the company expects will drive some growth q/q in 3Q12 as well. Company has spent $1.6bb of its CY12 capex in 1Q12, and expects 2012 capex will be back half weighted." Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor hit a 52-week high Thursday of $15.69. The stock's 52-week low of $10.75 was set on Aug. 18. Taiwan Semiconductor's forward P/E is 13.95; the average for semiconductors is 25.14. Six of the eight analysts who cover Taiwan Semiconductor rated it hold; two analysts gave the stock a buy rating. TheStreet Ratings gives Taiwan Semiconductor an A+ grade with a buy rating and $17.61 price target. The stock has risen 23.01% year to date.
Watson Pharmaceuticals The drug company acquired Swiss generic drug company Actavis on Wednesday for about $5.6 billion. "We are raising our sales and EPS estimates as well as our price target for WPI shares following the company's announced acquisition of Actavis for $5.6bn with an additional 5.5mm WPI share earn-out," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "In our view, the Actavis acquisition represents a transformational move for Watson that will solidify the company's US business and significantly propel its international presence. The potential accretion from the deal appears well above our initial estimates (over 30% accretive to 2013