7 Dividend Aristocrats At 52-Week Highs Ahead Of Earnings Season

by: Zvi Bar

Many long-standing American equities have performed exceedingly well over the last three months, along with the broader market. Numerous equities bottomed out during the second half of 2011, but in the last few months returned towards previous Q2 highs. Many reached new highs at the end of 2011 and continue to stay at or near their 52-week highs, or breaking them.

This is a recent performance review for seven well-known mid and large-cap equities that are at or near their recently established 52-week highs, and with the potential to make new highs if this earnings season turns out to be favorable: Cintas Corp (NASDAQ:CTAS), Chubb Corp (NYSE:CB), Ecolab Inc (NYSE:ECL), Genuine Parts Co (NYSE:GPC), Grainger, W.W. Inc (NYSE:GWW), McCormick & Co (NYSE:MKC) and Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW), listed by proximity to a new high. Each of these stocks is a member of the S&P 500 and also a Dividend Aristocrat, meaning the company has increased its dividend every year for at least 25 consecutive years.

In the table, below, I have provided the increase each of these equities has made from its 52-week low, as well as how far off from its 52-week high it now trades. I have also provided the annual dividend yield each offers. (click images to enlarge)

The best-performing listed equity from its 52-week low is Grainger, but Cintas is the best-performing over the last 12 months. Cintas now trades less than 1% from its recently set 52-week high.

In terms of performance from its recent bottom, McGraw-Hill was also strong, increasing over 31% since August and now about 2% below its recent high. See CTAS's recent chart, below:

Another company breaking into new 52-weel high territory is Sherwin Williams, which is now benefitting from better than expected new construction statistics and trades less than 1% from its recently set 52-week high. See SHW's recent chart, below:

Ecolab also trades less than 1% from its recently set 52-week high. See ECL's recent chart, below:

The rest are less than two percent from their 52-week highs, and have mostly trended through prior resistance points. See a 1-year comparison chart, beow:

All have performed well over the last quarter and month, going into earnings season.

All seven of these companies now trade exceptionally close to their 52-week highs, which were mostly set within the last week or two. With so many companies at or re-approaching 52-week highs, it could also mean that the market is due for a short-term correction. If that does not occur, several of these equities appear poised to move higher on positive numbers and/or dividend increases.

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

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative and should not be construed as personalized advice as it does not take into account your specific situation or objectives.