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4 top stocks hitting new highs: Aurizon, Computershare, Tabcorp and Telstra

With the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) closing in on the 5400 level, stock market investors are looking at a solid 15% return over calendar year 2013. With only two trading days of the year left, it’s unlikely the market will reach or beat its high for the year of 5457.3, but it won’t be far off.

Helping the index conclude the year on a positive note has been strong performances by a number of ‘blue chip’ stocks which have been hitting new 52-week highs.

Rail freight operator Aurizon (ASX: AZJ) has enjoyed a 31% gain in its share price during 2013. The stock hit a new 52-week high last week of $4.98, which also marks its all-time high since the company floated in 2010 under its previous moniker of QR National.

Registry and investor services firm Computershare (ASX: CPU) is flying high after its share price increased around 26% over the course of the year to hit a recent high of $11.48. The pick-up in corporate activity which has seen a spike in the number of initial public offerings and capital raisings is expected to flow through to higher revenues for Computershare.

Wagering and gaming firm Tabcorp (ASX: TAH) has so far managed to just outperform the S&P/ASX 200 Index with a return of 17.7% compared with the index’s 15%. The stock has traded in a tight range between $2.99 and $3.65 over 2013, and is currently trading near its year high.

A statistic which will please an enormous number of Australian investors (given that the stock is so widely held) is the 20% gain in Telstra’s (ASX: TLS) share price, which will see the stock finish the year trading very close to its 52-week high of $5.27.

Foolish takeaway

The boost in share prices has been great for shareholders, however in the long run it is a boost in earnings that really matters. Share prices will fluctuate and multiples will expand and contract, which is why a focus on the underlying economics of a business and a conservative approach to valuation is so important.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article

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