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Why Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES) is among 3 S&P/ASX 200 shares at 52-week highs

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Some sectors of the S&P/ASX 200 are struggling this week, with lithium miners and big banks being hit particularly badly, with share price falls across the board.

But these threee stocks are prevailing and powering ahead with share prices sitting at 52-week highs.

Check out why below.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

Biopharmaceutical giant CSL Limited shares hit a 52-week high today – up 1.4% to $187.79 at the time of writing.

CSL announced it had lifted profit guidance for FY18 earlier this month with NPAT expected to be between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion USD.

CSL attributed the good news to better-than-expected sales across several product lines.

But despite its share price being on an upswing, many experts think CSL is still a buy, thanks to strong underlying demand for its core products and a reliable track record of delivering growth.

Citi analysts were among the “buy” camp last week with the broker saying it expected CSL shares to continue to grow at a rate of around 20% per annum until FY20.

Healthcare sector peer Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) is keeping CSL company on the gains list with its share price up 1.4% to $198.01 at the time of writing – albeit slightly short of its 52-week high of $198.93 posted on May 21.

Investors who are worried they have missed the boat on CSL and Cochlear should take comfort from popular opinion that both companies look to have a strong decade ahead of them, but as always, risks should be properly calculated, as both stocks also operate in a very competitive space.

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

Shares in diversified supermarkets business Wesfarmers Ltd are up 0.1% to $45.66 – a 52-week high for the stock that has experienced some volatile times in the last 12 months.

Wesfarmers announced earlier this week it would divest its troubled UK Homebase business to a company associated with Hilco Capital and investors have rallied behind the decision, which Wesfarmers’ managing director Rob Scott said would be in the best interests of shareholders.

Wesfarmers acquired Homebase in 2016 and the investment has struggled ever since with poor post-acquisition execution in a deteriorating UK retail sector.

Investors looking to find out in detail the shape of Wesfarmers’ business going forward will know more after its strategy briefing day on June 7.

Well-known competitor Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) has seen a share price decline today, while Wesfarmers is on its high, with Woolworths shares down to $28.58 at the time of writing after a share price climb following the announcement of its third quarter sales results on May 2.

APN Outdoor Group Ltd (ASX: APO)

Leading outdoor advertising operator APN Outdoor Group Ltd shares dropped back marginally to sit at $5.73 at the time of writing after reaching a 52-week high on May 29 with a share price close of $5.74.

The rally is likely due to FY18 EBITDA guidance this week when APN announced underlying EBITDA for the 12 months ending December 31, 2018 would be in the range of $92 million to $96 million.

APN CEO James Warburton said out-of-home markets across Australia and New Zealand were “robust” and “pleasingly our reinvigorated approach to sales continues to gain momentum”.

APN is now tracking headline first-half revenue growth of mid-single digits against the previous corresponding period with higher figures possible if you exclude the impact of the Yarra Trams contract loss in the second half of 2017.

Competitors oOh!Media Ltd (ASX: OML) and HT&E Ltd (ASX: HT1) are both on the incline today, with oOh!Media shares up 0.3% to $5.21 at the time of writing and HT&E shares up 0.4% to $23.10.

It's always exciting to see Blue Chip stocks hit 52-week highs.

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Motley Fool contributor Carin Pickworth has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Cochlear Ltd. 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 Scott Phillips.

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