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These 3 shares are at 52-week highs: Is there more to come?

One of Australia’s biggest companies, Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) has returned to favour with its latest full year results, making up ground lost after a small speed-bump last year.

The market has likewise swept a rapidly growing debt collector and a junior oil producer up to new heights as excitement builds around their potential.

Cochlear Limited – last traded at $68.01, up 13% for the year

Cochlear’s had a pretty subdued twelve months after a market update mid-2013 pushed its shares out of favour. Tuesday’s preliminary final report has made up all that ground and more, with the company jumping $8 in a single day to a 52-week high of $71.11.

Investors seemed to focus mainly on revenue growth of 7%, ignoring the fact that net profit attributable to members dropped 29% to $93.7 million.

And they might be right to do that, with Cochlear’s impressive global network and cutting edge research facilities providing plenty of scope to increase and maintain this company’s market-leading position.

At the present moment I’m not in a rush to buy Cochlear myself, but I certainly won’t counsel investors against buying into a company with such an established competitive advantage and performance record.

Collection House Limited (ASX: CLH) – last traded at $2.01, up 9% for the year

Returning from its appearance in last week’s article, Collection House is finally achieving some modest price recognition of its future growth potential.

The ethical debt collector recorded NPAT growth of 16.2% in the first half of 2014, although earnings per share were up by a more modest 3.3% as a result of a capital raising conducted during this time.

Of greatest bearing on the company’s future prospects however is the expansion of headquarters in Brisbane slated for fourth-quarter 2014.

According to the most recent half-yearly report, this will provide space for another 120 staff which, combined with planned growth in the Newcastle call centre and expansion of Collection House International in Manila, provides plenty of room to maintain the company’s ongoing growth performance.

Collection House shows average growth over the past four 1H reports of 9.9% for revenue, and 14.5% net profit. With it’s ongoing success and capacity expansions, I don’t think we’ll see an end to that growth any time soon.

Sundance Energy Australia Ltd (ASX: SEA) – last traded at $1.345, up 36% for the year

Sundance’s rapid rise to its current prices began after an operations update back in May, where the company successfully met previous guidance for increased oil production – up 18% on Q4 2013.

Since then Sundance has climbed roughly 30%, with the latest operations update – production up 23% again from Q1 2014 – lifting the company to new highs of $1.40.

With the recently announced sale of its Goliath assets, Sundance will remain cashed up for the near future, putting the junior miner on good footing for future exploration.

However the company is beginning to look expensive given its levels of production compared to similarly priced companies like Beach Energy Limited (ASX: BPT); with Sundance producing less than a quarter of Beach’s oil at one third the size of Beach by market cap.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sundance go higher, particularly if it maintains its production growth; however investors should also consider owning other oil producers like the currently-discounted Senex Energy Ltd (ASX: SXY).

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill owns shares in Collection House.

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