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The Operating Profit Margin lets an investor know how operationally efficient a company is. This profitability also lends insight into a company’s pricing strategy and its level of success. A healthy operating margin is necessary for a company to pay off fixed costs after its variables have been covered. The higher the Operating Profit Margin, the better.

We ran a screen for stocks trading near their 52-Week Lows that had recently illustrated bullish trends by outperforming the S&P 500 over the last week. From this narrowed pool we then screened for companies that have strong 1-Year Fiscal Operating Profit Margins (X>20%).

The 1-Week Performance ranks the companies from highest to lowest:

1. Earthlink, Inc. (ELNK)

Sector

Communication Services

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$762M

Beta

0.82

The company provides integrated communication services. The company rose 0.71% in the last week. The company is 3.21% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 25.99%. The short interest was 8.50% as of 08/15/2011.

2. PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDLI)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Biotechnology

Market Cap

$795M

Beta

0.30

The company develops and sells innovative therapies that target life threatening illnesses. The company has risen 0.69% in the last week. The company is 22.10% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 61.19%. The short interest was 12.70% as of 08/15/2011.

3. Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (DO)

Sector

Energy

Industry

Oil & Gas Drilling

Market Cap

$8,572M

Beta

0.82

The company offers deep-sea contract drilling services all over the world. The company has risen 0.15% in the last week. The company is 9.33% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 42.89%. The short interest was 16.30% as of 08/15/2011.

4. Exelon Corp. (EXC)

Sector

Utilities

Industry

Utilities - Diversified

Market Cap

$28,085M

Beta

0.61

The company operates as a utility holding company. The company has lost -0.54% in the last week. The company is 8.53% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 25.35%. The short interest was 3.60% as of 08/15/2011.

5. Paychex, Inc. (PAYX)

Sector

Industrials

Industry

Staffing & Outsourcing Services

Market Cap

$9,390M

Beta

0.86

The company offers payroll, employee benefits outsourcing, and human resource services. The company has lost -0.54% in the last week. The company is 3.22% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 37.73%. The short interest was N/A as of 08/15/2011.

6. PPL Corp. (PPL)

Sector

Utilities

Industry

Utilities - Diversified

Market Cap

$16,148M

Beta

0.44

The company operates as a utility holding company with a focus on the electricity markets within the US. The company has lost -0.84% in the last week. The company is 15.98% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 21.90%. The short interest was 2.60% as of 08/15/2011.

7. Federated Investors, Inc. (FII)

Sector

Financial Services

Industry

Asset Management

Market Cap

$1,706M

Beta

0.90

The company offers investment management products and other financial services. The company has lost -0.85% in the last week. The company is 2.19% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 32.31%. The short interest was 15.30% as of 08/15/2011. Given the high short interest this may be a short favorite or potentially a great short squeeze.

8. Greenhill & Co, Inc. (GHL)

Sector

Financial Services

Industry

Capital Markets

Market Cap

$934M

Beta

0.73

The company is an independent investment bank that offers a variety of services. The company has risen/lost -1.26% in the last week. The company is 3.05% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 21.18%. The short interest was 22.40% as of 08/15/2011.

9. Verisk Analytics, Inc. (VRSK)

Sector

Industrials

Industry

Business Services

Market Cap

$5,511M

Beta

N/A

The company offers a variety of support software to various industries such as insurance and mortgage within the US. The company has lost -1.42% in the last week. The company is 23.67% above its 52-Week Low. The company’s Operating Profit Margin is 38.73%. The short interest was 1.00% as of 08/15/2011.

We hope this list helps as investors look for companies that may be turning around and hold high Operating Profit Margins.


Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 9 High-Profit Margin Stocks Trading Near 52-Week Lows