Propelled by strong earnings and upbeat guidance, the shares of several leading companies are now at their highest level in a year. And while some investors might be weary of stocks trading at 52-week highs, assuming they are destined to fall, many of the securities involved are from best-of-breed companies and household names. In fact, some of the best performing stocks trading at 52-week highs, include:
Best Performing Stocks: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A/BRK-B)
Shares of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A / NYSE:BRK-B) have been trading at or near a 52-week high since reporting second-quarter financial results that trounced analyst expectations. Q2 operating income jumped 6.6% year over year to $10.04 billion. In addition, earnings from Berkshire’s insurance underwriting business recorded a 74% jump in Q2, reaching $1.25 billion.
Berkshire Hathaway also reported that its cash holdings reached nearly $150 billion in Q2, near record levels and much higher than the $130 billion reported in Q1 of this year. High interest rates are enabling Berkshire to earn hefty returns on its cash pile. The conglomerate held more than $97 billion in short term Treasury bills at the end of Q2. Plus, Berkshire reported a $26 billion unrealized gain from its investments as the stock market has come roaring back this year.
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG / NASDAQ:GOOGL) is also sitting at a 52-week high right now. All thanks to growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) a rebound in online advertising, and steady growth in its cloud computing business unit. So far in 2023, GOOGL stock has risen 50%, outpacing the broader market.
Helping, Alphabet’s Q2 print was its best earnings report in more than a year. For the quarter ended June 30, Alphabet reported earnings per share of $1.44, as compared to expectations for $1.34. Revenue came in at $74.6 billion compared to $72.82 billion that had been forecast. Also, its advertising and Google Cloud revenue also beat expectations.
Best Performing Stocks: Intuit (INTU)
Shares of Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) are also at a 52-week high thanks to better-than-expected earnings and continued sales momentum. The company reported EPS of $1.65, which was up 50% from $1.10 a year earlier. It was also ahead of forecasts for $1.38. Revenues also jumped to $2.71 billion, which was better than forecast. It was also 12% higher from year-earlier numbers.
Even better, analysts at Oppenheimer (NYSE:OPY) maintained a “buy” rating on the stock and lifted its price target on the shares to $530 from $476. Intuit has been of the best performing stocks for quite some time. Not only has the INTU stock gained 36% this year, it’s up nearly 150% over the past five years.
Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG)
Another one of the best performing stocks of the year is Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG).
Most recently, Barron’s wrote a glowing article on the Chicago-based insurance broker that’s been in business since 1927. In the article, Barron’s notes that AJG stock has consistently outperformed the broader stock market since going public in 1984.
While not a household name, Arthur J. Gallagher has managed to steadily rise and defy expectations through a combination of steady growth and strong management. In fact, over the last decade, Arthur J. Gallagher’s revenue increased 234% while its EPS has grown 340%. I should also noted that elevated interest rates and strong policy renewals are expected to lead to record profits this year. AJG stock has increased 24% over the last 12 months and is up 220% through five years.
UBS Group (UBS)
Shares of Swiss banking giant UBS Group (NYSE:UBS) are cresting at a 52-week high as the company completes its $3.2 billion takeover of failed rival Credit Suisse. While UBS was seen to have been forced by the Swiss government into acquiring troubled Credit Suisse, which failed after years of mounting financial losses and trading scandals, UBS did manage to wring strong concessions from the government and regulators, ensuring that it will benefit from the takeover.
Notably, UBS ensured that the Swiss government will assume losses of nearly $10 billion from assets over a pre-set threshold to help reduce risks to it and its future operations. UBS also managed to immediately cut the total headcount at the combined banks by 30%, or 35,000 employees. Now that the takeover has been completed, UBS Group emerges as one of the biggest banks in the world with $1.6 trillion in assets and 120,000 employees worldwide. UBS stock has risen 57% in the last 12 months and is close to an all-time high.
TJX Companies (TJX)
TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) is a star in the retail space. While other retailers complain of inflation fatigued consumers and in-store theft, TJX Companies hit a home run with its Q2 earnings, sending its stock up to a fresh 52-week high in the process. The company, which runs T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, beat Wall Street forecasts for its Q2 print across the board, and raised its forward guidance.
Cash-strapped consumers who are grappling with higher prices continue to spend at TJX Companies’ stores even as they pullback on discretionary purchases at other retail outlets. As a result, TJX announced EPS of 85 cents versus 77 cents that had been expected. Revenue of $12.76 billion beat consensus analyst expectations of $12.45 billion. The company also raised its full-year guidance after posting a 7.7% year-over-year sales increase and 23% growth in its profits. TJX stock has risen 44% in the last 12 months.
Eli Lilly (LLY)
If you’re not already on the Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) train, you might want to hop aboard before the company’s weight loss drug Mounjaro receives final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this year. LLY stock has gained 52% already this year and is now changing hands at a 52-week high largely in anticipation of Mounjaro being approved by the FDA and potentially becoming the biggest selling pharmaceutical of all time.
Already, Mounjaro, which is also used to treat Diabetes, is having a significant impact on Eli Lilly’s earnings. The drug maker reported that its Q2 profit surged 85% from a year earlier primarily due to rising sales of Mounjaro, which is being prescribed off label by doctors as a weight loss treatment. LLY stock rose 15% in a single trading session and closed at a record high following the Q2 print. The stock has gained even more in recent weeks. The FDA is expected to make a decision on Mounjaro as a weight loss treatment by Christmas.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole held long positions in GOOGL and LLY. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.