3 high-quality ASX shares trading at 52-week highs

Credit: John St John

Looking through the list of shares making new 52-week highs is always a useful exercise as it helps to identify the trends and shares that are moving in the right direction.

At the moment, there are close to 100 different shares making new 52-week highs, which is not that surprising considering the rebound that has occurred in the resources and energy sectors.

From this list, a number of high-quality shares immediately stand out including:

Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC)

Ramsay Health Care continues to be a true ‘blue chip’ stock and, in my opinion, is the best healthcare company on the ASX.

The shares had been languishing in the early part of the year on the back of regulatory concerns in France and private health insurance relationships in Australia. Both of these issues appear to have been resolved and the share price has climbed more than 22% over the past two months.

It is easy to forget that at its half year results in February, Ramsay upgraded its full year guidance for core NPAT and core EPS growth to between 15% and 17%, up from 12% to 14%.

The rapid share price increase now sees the company trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of around 31. This may seem expensive, but if I was a shareholder, I wouldn’t be selling anytime soon.

Burson Group Ltd (ASX: BAP)

I have written previously about why I think Burson is one of the best ASX shares to own based on its defensive business model and market leading position in the sector.

The shares continue to track higher on the back of a positive growth outlook and an ‘optimisation program’ that is expected to deliver significant costs savings from FY17 onwards.

The shares have managed to climb around 65% since hitting their 52-week low of $3.26 this time last year. This sees the shares trading on a P/E of around 30.

Like Ramsay Health Care, the shares are not cheap but I wouldn’t expect to see a whole lot of selling from investors in the short term.

REA Group Limited (ASX: REA)

Just as Ramsay Health Care is the leader in its sector, I believe REA Group is the best large-cap technology company on the ASX.

The most impressive part of REA Group’s performance over the past 12 months, has been the company’s ability to drive growth even as residential listing volumes in Australia remain subdued. The property booms in Sydney and Melbourne have actually resulted in fewer listings and, those that have listed, do not remain advertised for very long.

REA Group has been able to leverage its dominant market position to offset this headwind by targeting more developers and selling higher value premium products to agents.

REA Group shares are currently trading on a P/E of around 33, and while that seems expensive, it is hard to see a catalyst for a significant sell-off.

The dividend yields on all three stocks are pretty low so if you are after large fully franked dividends, then you might want to consider these five shares instead.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Burson. 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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