Market Overview

Visa, Ross Stores and Five Other Stocks Worth a Look Now

The stocks of the following dividend-paying companies are trading more than 20% higher than six months ago and all are within shouting distance of their 52-week highs.

B&G Foods (NYSE: BGS): The New Jersey-based maker of shelf-stable foods, such as Cream of Wheat and Joan of Arc brands, recently completed the acquisition of Mrs. Dash, Baker's Joy and other brands from Unilever (NYSE: UL). The company has a $1.1 billion market cap, a dividend yield of 4.1% and a long-term EPS growth forecast of 11.7%. The return on equity is 22.8%. The share price is more than 73% higher than a year ago despite pulling back in the past week. The stock has outperformed competitors General Mills (NYSE: GIS) and Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) over the past six months.

Buckeye Technologies (NYSE: BKI): Analysts expect revenues to be 14.5% higher year over year in the current quarter, and up 9.1% for the year. This Memphis-based company has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Its market cap is $1.2 billion, the P/E ratio is 12.1 and the operating margin is higher than the industry average. The share price is up more than 44% since the beginning of the year despite pulling back about 4% from a recent multiyear high. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed competitors MeadWestvaco (NYSE: MWV) and Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY).

Group 1 Automotive (NYSE: GPI): This Houston-based auto dealership operator saw coverage of its stock recently initiated by Keybanc Capital with a Buy rating. Analysts expect this quarter's EPS to be 28.1% higher than a year ago. The company has a market cap of $1.1 billion and a dividend yield of 1.0%. Its long-term EPS growth forecast is 18.8%. The share price is about 36% higher than six months ago despite pulling back more than 3% in the past week. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed AutoNation (NYSE: AN) and Sonic Automotive (NYSE: SAH).

Monro Muffler Brake (NASDAQ: MNRO): This leading provider of automotive repair and maintenance services is expect to post revenues for the current quarter that are 9.0% higher year over year. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company has a $1.2 billion market cap and a dividend yield of 0.9%. Its long-term EPS growth forecast is 21.8% and the return on equity is 17.4%. Shares are trading more than 25% higher than six months ago. The stock has outperformed competitor Pep Boys (NYSE: PBY) but underperformed Midas (NYSE: MDS) over the past six months.

RLI Corp. (NYSE: RLI): In November, the board of this property and casualty insurance company voted to pay a special dividend in addition to the regular dividend. This $1.5 billion market cap company has paid dividends for 141 consecutive quarters. Its dividend yield is 1.7% and the long-term EPS growth forecast is 11.1%. Its operating margin is much higher than the industry average. RLI's share price is up more than 47% year to date and just shy of a recent 52-week high. The stock has outperformed competitors CNA Financial (NYSE: CNA) and Travelers Companies (NYSE: TRV) over the past six months.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ: ROST): This Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer of off-price apparel and home goods has been a Jim Cramer pick lately, and FBR Capital initiated coverage of the stock at Outperform this week. The S&P 500 component has a $10.7 billion market cap and a dividend yield of 0.9%. Its long-term EPS growth forecast is 11.5% and the return on equity is 45.9%. Shares have been trading between $92 and $94 since the beginning of the month but are more than 50% higher than a year ago. However, the stock has underperformed competitor TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX) over the past six months.

Visa (NYSE: V): The stock made the top 20 of CNBC's top S&P stocks of 2011, and Nomura just initiated Visa at Buy. The San Francisco-based company has a market cap of $78.3 billion. Its long-term EPS growth forecast is 15.9% and the dividend yield is 0.9%. The operating margin is higher than the industry average, and the PEG ratio is 0.8. The share price is up about 38% year to date despite pulling back about 3% from the 52-week high. The stock has outperformed American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS) over the past six months.

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Posted-In: American Express AutoNation B&G foods Buckeye Technologies cna financialLong Ideas Short Ideas Trading Ideas

 

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