The S&P ASX All Ordinaries Index (ASX: ^XAO) set a new 52-week high at 5,477 on Friday. Pushing higher themselves, these three companies have set new highs.
Investment manager Challenger Limited (ASX: CGF) set a new high at $6.81, and has risen 32% in the last six months to $6.72. The growing number of retiring Baby Boomers and a wider interest in annuities for pensions has increased its retail annuity sales 38% to $1.5 billion. Customers are looking for products to assure a stable flow of money for retirement to complement superannuation.
Similarly, it is winning business for managing customer wealth, becoming the seventh largest Australian investment manager, with $45 billion of funds under management, up 27%.
Its strategy is to become more involved with self-managed super funds (SMSF), and its acquisition of Bendzulla Actuarial, a leading provider of SMSF actuarial certificates, gives it access to SMSF clients who may want an extra level of financial assurance that its annuities can offer.
Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU), the transfer agency and share registration service provider, hit $12.76, almost surpassing its all-time high of $12.77 it set in 2010. The rising stock market has higher volumes of transactions and more corporate activity, all of which drive business for the company.
It made a 46% higher net profit in the first half of FY2014 to $140.9 million on $972.9 million in revenue. This was mostly due to a reduction in expenses of a little more than 10%. With an ongoing bull market and general recovery in world financial markets, shareholders can look towards more activity for the company as it operates in 20 countries.
Gaming machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) had two “buy” ratings on it in early February by UBS and Deutsche Bank, and last week it hit $5.34, a 52-week high. In its 19 February AGM, it announced that it was growing market share in North America, particularly in the digital space with its two recent acquisitions, Product Madness and nLive.
These both are social gaming businesses that offer free casino game play with advertising income streams. However, they could offer the company a platform for online gambling if US gambling legislation is changed.
The company is the number one market leader in Australia and the Asian region for gaming machines, and will benefit from the growing number of Asian countries with casinos and integrated resorts.
The US bull market has now run five years since the depths of the GFC in 2009. People may remember it for a long time, but financial markets move on, always concerned with what’s next. Australia’s sharemarket usually mirrors the US market’s trends.
Keep on the lookout for corrections, but don’t be scared of them. They’re actually healthy for the market, relieving pressure on the steady climb upwards. They can also produce buying opportunities for the stocks you’d love to have, but want to buy cheaper.
Motley Fool contributor Darryl Daté-Shappard does not own shares in any company mentioned.
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