The markets sentiment is mixed today, as uncertainty regarding the policy moves of both the US Fed and the Bank of Japan paralyzes market participants. The BoJ is expected to cut its interest rates and move into negative territory, while the market would like to see some positive momentum concerning the Fed’s monetary policies, which may disappoint.
In this article, we’ll look at five major stocks which are not starved for momentum, as they each hit 52-week highs yesterday. Those stocks are Amphenol Corporation (NYSE:APH), Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH), Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE:DKS), Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) and International Paper Company (NYSE:IP). We’ll check out how hedge funds have been trading them and whether they can maintain their momentum below.
Our backtests that covered the period between 1999 and 2012, showed that following the 15 most popular small-caps among hedge funds can help a retail investor beat the market by an average of 95 basis points per month (see the details here).
Shares of Amphenol Corporation (NYSE:APH) are currently trading up by 1.16% today, pushing to a new 52-week high of $65.18 today after also reaching the milestone yesterday. The stock has been helped by Goldman Sachs upgrading its rating on it to ‘Buy’ from ‘Neutral’, while hiking its price target on it to $70 from $60. Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney likes the company’s mix of diversified customers and end-markets, which he believes will allow it to continue to outgrow its peers. 19 funds that we track held $540 million worth of Amphenol Corporation (NYSE:APH) shares at the end of June, compared to 19 funds with $309 million in shares at the end of March, as hedgies grew more bullish on the stock at an opportune time; shares have gained over 12% in the third quarter.
Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) is currently trading at $122.33, up by 2.15% today after shares hit a 52-week high of $122.99 yesterday. Ashland has slowly clawed back to its new yearly high after disappointing fiscal third quarter results issued on July 27 sent shares down to $113.56. Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) is in the process of spinning off motor oil maker Valvoline, with plans to sell 30 million shares in its public offering, at between $20 and $23 per share. The company hopes to raise about $605 million in proceeds through the spinoff. 26 funds that we track were long Ashland on June 30, holding $551 million worth of its stock, up from 24 funds holding $420 million in shares on March 31.
We’ll check out three more stocks that hit 52-week highs yesterday on the next page.