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It's important to remember that stocks represent ownership interests in companies run by real management teams. How well a company is run has big implications to its profitability and its ability to maintain a dividend yield.

One way to evaluate this is by looking at the corporate governance policies of the company, such as its board composition and shareholder rights.

Institutional Shareholder Services ((NYSE:ISS)) gives ratings for four areas of corporate governance, on risks related to: the board, the audit committee, the compensation committee, and shareholder rights.

We ran a screen on stocks trading within 10% of their 52-week highs for those receiving "low risk" ratings in all four corporate governance categories from ISS.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

Do you think these stocks will break through to new highs? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by distance from 52-week high.

1. PS Business Parks Inc. (NYSE:PSB): A real estate investment trust, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, development, ownership, and operation of commercial properties primarily multi-tenant flex, office, and industrial space. Market cap of $1.46B. The stock is currently trading at 0.09% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 6.16% over the last year.

2. Total System Services, Inc. (NYSE:TSS): Provides electronic payment processing and other services to card-issuing and merchant acquiring institutions. Market cap of $4.17B. The stock is currently trading at 0.24% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 23.42% over the last year.

3. W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW): Distributes facilities maintenance and other related products and services in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, India, Puerto Rico, China, Colombia, and Panama. Market cap of $14.13B. The stock is currently trading at 0.42% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 52.3% over the last year.

4. Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE): Engages in the development of energy infrastructure, operation of utilities, and provision of energy-related products and services worldwide. Market cap of $13.48B. The stock is currently trading at 0.65% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 11.28% over the last year.

5. NewMarket Corp. (NYSE:NEU): Engages in the petroleum additives and real estate development businesses. Market cap of $2.89B. The stock is currently trading at 0.67% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.31% (equivalent to 15.87 days of average volume). The stock has gained 76.88% over the last year.

6. United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS): Provides transportation, logistics, and financial services in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $72.50B. The stock is currently trading at 0.81% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 6.13% over the last year.

7. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM): Engages in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, and manufacture of petroleum products, as well as transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. Market cap of $419.26B. The stock is currently trading at 0.86% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 13.38% over the last year.

8. Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX): Operates as a media and entertainment company in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $37.47B. The stock is currently trading at 0.87% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 17.44% over the last year.

9. JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT): Operates as a surface transportation and delivery services company in North America. Market cap of $5.67B. The stock is currently trading at 0.94% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 19.46% over the last year.

10. Triangle Capital Corporation (NYSE:TCAP): A private equity and venture capital firm specializing in leveraged buyouts, management buyouts, ESOPs, change of control transactions, acquisition financings, growth financing, and recapitalizations in lower middle market companies. Market cap of $437.85M. The stock is currently trading at 0.97% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 15.04% over the last year.

11. AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO): Operates as a specialty retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. Market cap of $13.66B. The stock is currently trading at 1.08% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 37.63% over the last year.

12. The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD): Operates as a home improvement retailer. Market cap of $69.19B. The stock is currently trading at 1.19% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 26.6% over the last year.

13. Main Street Capital Corporation (NYSE:MAIN): A business development company specializing in equity, equity related, and debt investments in small and lower middle market companies. Market cap of $577.67M. The stock is currently trading at 1.25% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 30.32% over the last year.

14. El Paso Corp. (EP): Operates in the natural gas transmission, and exploration and production sectors of the energy industry primarily in the United States. Market cap of $20.71B. The stock is currently trading at 1.36% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 85.81% over the last year.

15. Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT): Manufactures and markets packaged food products worldwide. Market cap of $67.97B. The stock is currently trading at 1.39% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 26.92% over the last year.

16. RLI Corp. (NYSE:RLI): Underwrites property and casualty insurance primarily in the United States. Market cap of $1.56B. The stock is currently trading at 1.43% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.24% (equivalent to 13.53 days of average volume). The stock has gained 59.08% over the last year.

17. Nelnet Inc. (NYSE:NNI): Focuses on providing fee-based processing services, and education-related products and services in the areas of loan financing, loan servicing, payment processing, and enrollment services. Market cap of $1.16B. The stock is currently trading at 1.52% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 9.84% over the last year.

18. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX): Operates approximately 16,858 stores, including 8,833 company-operated stores and 8,025 licensed stores. Market cap of $35.29B. The stock is currently trading at 1.53% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 44.73% over the last year.

19. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM): Provides information technology products and services worldwide. Market cap of $223.91B. The stock is currently trading at 1.53% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.04% over the last week.

20. AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T): Provides telecommunication services to consumers, businesses, and other service providers worldwide. Market cap of $180.15B. The stock is currently trading at 1.59% below its 52-week high. According to ISS, the company has "low concern" in all corporate governance categories. The stock has gained 13.69% over the last year.

*ISS ratings sourced from Yahoo! Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

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

Source: 20 Stocks Trading Near Highs With Strong Corporate Governance