4 shares at new 52-week highs that could climb further

Value investors will often trawl through the list of shares trading at 52-week lows in the hope of finding companies that are unloved and undervalued by the general market. This strategy can be particularly useful for long-term investors looking for stocks with turnaround potential or that have been sold down for no reason other than a change of sentiment in the market.

Although this can be a great exercise to identify ‘cheap’ shares, I think it is just as important for investors to look at what shares are making new 52-week highs.

These shares can often give investors an insight into which companies are moving in the right direction and which sectors in the economy are performing well. This is especially important when the markets are experiencing volatility, as we are now.

Despite this volatility, these four shares have continued to power on to new highs:

1. CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) – CSL has managed to outperform the broader market by around 25% over the past six months and has continued to climb higher in recent weeks despite the weakness in the broader market. Not only do investors value CSL’s defensive earnings in times of volatility but also value the company’s potential for growth. The shares might be trading at 28x FY16 forecast earnings but investors can expect earnings growth to pick up dramatically from FY17 and onwards as a number of new plasma treatments come on to market. The decline of the Australian dollar is also helping to drive the share price higher as the healthcare giant has significant exposure to offshore markets.

2. WAM Capital Limited (ASX: WAM) – The listed investment company has consistently delivered market-beating returns with the flagship fund managing to outperform the broader market by 8.5% per annum, on average, over the last 10 years. Importantly, the portfolio managed to gain 25.6% in 2015 despite an average cash holding of 34% during that time. The share price has managed to climb higher over the past year despite trading at a significant premium to its net tangible asset (NTA) backing and recently hit a 52-week high of $2.16. Although the shares are currently trading at around an 8% premium to its NTA, investors will receive exposure to one of the best performing long-term fund managers and a dividend yield in excess of 6.5%.

3. AIR N.Z. FPO NZ (ASX: AIZ) – The share price of Air New Zealand has soared more than 25% over the past 12 months and the airline has delivered an average annual shareholder return of 16.5% over the last 10 years. Interestingly, the company has significantly outperformed its listed rivals Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX: VAH), which have delivered average annual shareholder returns of returns of 2.3% and -9.6% respectively. The company’s recent share price strength has come from two main sources. The first has been strong passenger growth and the second has been plummeting oil prices. With no way to predict where the oil price will go from here, Air New Zealand remains a high-risk investment in my opinion, but the airline of choice for investors looking for exposure to the industry.

4. JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) – The share price of JB Hi-Fi has gained nearly 24% over the past month as investors anticipate the potential benefit to the company from the collapse of its one time rival Dick Smith Holdings Ltd (ASX: DSH). The shares are now trading on an estimated forward price to earnings ratio of around 16 and offering investors a dividend yield of around 4%. With much of any potential benefit now priced in to the share price, investors may be better served by waiting for a more attractive entry point.

Investors should always remember that ‘price is what you pay and value is what you get’ and the cheapest stocks are not necessarily going to deliver you the best returns. One stock that may deliver great shareholder returns is the Motley Fool’s top stock pick for 2016.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges 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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