After a rough start to the week, the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) headed back into positive territory this morning, rising 1.1% to be up 0.5% for the week.
A few turbulent days of trading combined with a crash in the price of oil made it easy to find stocks hitting new 52-week lows, but the crop of 52-week highs was pretty thin.
However, as it happens, three of Australia’s biggest companies went on to hit new highs this week, and here’s why:
CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) – last traded at $107.86, up 28% for the year
CSL shares currently trade at an all-time high, largely thanks to ongoing share buybacks as well as recent bullish price targets published by analysts from Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs. Goldman believes shares could be worth $116, while Deutsche Bank put a $111 price target on the stock. Several other analysts have price targets around $103-$107 dollars.
While CSL doesn’t appear to be a bargain by these measures, buyers get a stake in Australia’s pre-eminent biotech company, and a decent shot at continued market outperformance through new products (supported by huge expenditure on R&D), conservative management, and continued share buybacks.
Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL) – last traded at $2.48
Medibank shares surged as high as $2.70 this morning after a significant upgrade to the company’s operating profits was released by management. While the upgrade was a positive and there is also room for improvement if continued efforts to reduce claims bear fruit, investors should be cautious that the company is trading at elevated levels of around 5 times its book value, and doesn’t look particularly cheap.
Where shares head next depends on the company’s performance, and what the market makes of the company’s upcoming half-yearly report. Although shares could well head higher from here, I do not feel Medibank is a buy today.
Link Administration Holdings Ltd (ASX: LNK) – last traded at $7.60, up 8% for the year
Link had a successful start to listed life, rising as high as $7.70 this week, a 10% premium to its already elevated launch price. I’m uncertain about the company’s value, as there appears to be more room for downside if performance falls short of prospectus targets, compared to upside if it meets them. Interested investors should wait for the half-year results on 26 February to evaluate the company’s performance thus far.
Curiously, Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) recently liquidated its holdings in Link, some 700,000 securities, in December at average prices of around $7.30.
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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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