9 Stocks Hit 52-Week Highs: WMB, AEO, T, CRUS, TSM, AZO, MJN, WPI, RTN

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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Raytheon

The defense company reported first-quarter earnings Thursday of $448 million, or $1.33 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $384 million, or $1.06.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.16 a share.

"The earnings beat can primarily be attributed to operational performance with operating margins of 11.9%, up 214bps Y/Y (vs. BofAMLe of 11.0%) despite revenues of $5,938mn, down 2% Y/Y (vs. BofAMLe of $5,883mn)," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Management's 2012 EPS guidance from continuing operations increased to $5.00-$5.15, from $4.90-$5.05. Adjusting for FAS/CAS expense, 2012 EPS guidance increased to $5.55-5.70, from $5.45-5.60. Our 2012 estimate of $5.25 is above the Street's estimate of $5.05. We may review our model after this morning's earnings conference call."

Shares of Raytheon hit a 52-week high Thursday of $54.62. The stock's 52-week low of $38.35 was set on Sept. 22.

Raytheon's forward P/E is 9.66; the average for defense companies is 11.83. For comparison, Lockeed Martin ( LMT) has a higher forward P/E of 10.88.

Eleven of the 21 analysts who cover Raytheon rated it hold. Nine analysts gave the stock a buy rating and one rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Raytheon an A- grade with a buy rating and $60.67 price target. The stock has risen 11.74% year to date.


American Eagle Outfitters

"Given CEO Mr. Hanson's laser focus on returns, we think there is potential for real estate paring in the American Eagle chain as well as in the marginally profitable Aerie brand," Jefferies analysts wrote in a report Monday. "We would welcome and encourage any such moves. We look for his imprint on the business from a strategic perspective to begin taking hold in the middle to back half of 2012 and to bear fruit in 2013 and beyond."

Shares of American Eagle hit a 52-week high Thursday of $18.29. The stock's 52-week low of $10 was set on Sept. 6.

American Eagle's forward P/E is 14.93; the average for apparel retailers is 17.28. For comparison, Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF) has a lower forward P/E of 11.06.

Fourteen of the 27 analysts who cover American Eagle rated it hold. Eleven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives American Eagle a B grade with a buy rating and $20.21 price target. The stock has risen 18.84% year to date.

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Mead Johnson Nutrition

The maker of nutritional products reported first-quarter earnings Thursday of $164.2 million, or 80 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $146.1 million, or 71 cents.

Analysts called for earnings of 78 cents a share.

"Mead Johnson raised full year sales and EPS guidance on confidence in the growth prospects in Asia/Latin America and on the recovery of the U.S. business in North America," D.A. Davidson analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "EPS of $3.04-$3.14 is now expected, previously $3.00-$3.10, and sales are now expected to grow 9%-11%, previously 7%-9%. About 1.5% of that sales growth should come from the Argentina brand acquisition. The company expects to (easily) reach $1 billion in sales by 2015. Asia/Latin America has grown in strong double digits every quarter since the IPO in 2009."

Shares of Mead Johnson hit a 52-week high Thursday of $87.27. The stock's 52-week low of $60.62 was set on Dec. 22.

Mead Johnson's forward P/E is 24.05; the average for food products companies is 17.31. For comparison, ConAgra ( CAG) has a lower forward P/E of 13.38.

Ten of the 16 analysts who cover Mead Johnson rated it buy; six analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Mead Johnson a B- grade with a buy rating and $102.71 price target. The stock has risen 25.4% year to date.


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.

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Cirrus Logic

The fabless semiconductor company reported Wednesday fourth-quarter earnings of $50.8 million, or 75 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $130.4 million, or $1.80 a share. Adjusted profit in the latest quarter was 36 cents a share compared with 22 cents a year earlier.

"We are raising estimates and reiterating our Outperform on CRUS following in-line 4Q (Mar.) sales/EPS of $111M/$0.36. Our price target moves to $30 from $28," Oppenheimer analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Outlook for 1Q (Jun.) revenues of $101M fell short of consensus $107M on timing issues at Apple. Management expects a sharply higher level of revenue beginning in 2Q (Sep). Inventory is expected to double Q/Q as CRUS funds increased demand with a $100M revolver. We believe CRUS has secured the iPhone 5 socket and look for units as well as content increases to drive 2H upside. CRUS remains a top play on the growth and success of Apple. We look for shares to trade better today following management's bullish 2H commentary."

Shares of Cirrus Logic hit a 52-week high Thursday of $26.73. The stock's 52-week low of $12.52 was set on Aug. 9.

Cirrus Logic's forward P/E is 14.6; the average for semiconductor companies is 17.6. For comparison, Cypress Semiconductor ( CY) has a lower forward P/E of 12.28.

Six of the seven analysts who cover Cirrus Logic rated it buy; one analyst gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Cirrus Logic a B grade with a buy rating and $28.53 price target. The stock has risen 67.44% 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.

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AutoZone

"We are upgrading AZO to Overweight for the following reasons: (1) AZO's accelerated investment into its commercial initiative provides a baseline 3% comp for the medium term (any DIY gain is gravy on top); (2) the company's cost discipline and commitment to maintain leverage to drive the buyback enhances the stock/earnings revision risk-reward (even if 'only a 3 comp'); (3) given these factors we believe valuation remains attractive (relatively and absolutely); and (4) unfavorable discretionary retail stock seasonality is looming and we favor adding exposure to a defensive GARP stock with idiosyncratic topline opportunities and secular (albeit more modest than prior) tailwinds," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Tuesday.

Shares of AutoZone hit a 52-week high Thursday of $395.12. The stock's 52-week low of $266.25 was set on Aug. 8.

AutoZone has a forward P/E of 14.33; the average for specialty retailers is 16.13. For comparison, O'Reilly Automotive ( ORLY) has a higher forward P/E of 19.38.

Twelve of the 22 analysts who cover AutoZone rated it buy; 10 analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives AutoZone a B- grade with a buy rating and $498.75 price target. The stock has risen 19.86% 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 earnings per share ), Actavis' diversification is greater than we had anticipated and the combined entity offers a number of potential levers for further EPS upside/growth. Along these lines, we are reiterating our overweight rating on WPI shares and see the potential for significant further upside from current levels."

Shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals hit a 52-week high of $75.95 on Thursday. The stock's 52-week low of $55 was set on Jan. 24.

Watson Pharmaceuticals' forward P/E is 11.2; the average for pharmaceutical companies is 22.56. For comparison, Perrigo ( PRGO) has a higher forward P/E of 19.27.

Seventeen of the 24 analysts who cover Watson Pharmaceuticals rated it buy; seven analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Watson Pharmaceuticals an A grade with a buy rating and $82.18 price target. The stock has risen 24.38% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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