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Orica and 2 other top ASX stocks just hit 52-week highs

The S&P/ASX200 (INDEXASX: XJO) index climbed 0.5% higher in yesterday’s trade to 6,484.8 points in a strong day for Aussie equities.

Here are three big-name companies that saw their share prices hit 52-week highs at yesterday’s market close.

Appen Limited (ASX: APX)

Despite no company-specific news being released yesterday, the Appen share price surged 5.8% to $27.76 per share and is showing no signs of slowing down.

The company has continued to outperform its own earnings guidance in what is reminiscent of the Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) share price’s meteoric rise in 2018.

With the global demand for Appen’s artificial intelligence training capabilities continuing to grow, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Aussie tech stock continue to soar in the second half of the year.

While the high price-to-earnings (P/E) multiples of companies such as Appen can make investors wary of overvaluation, I think the real value of these companies will be the wealth of data that they are able to collect and use in a variety of ways in the future.

InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC)

The InvoCare share price climbed 1.3% higher yesterday to a 52-week high of $16.18 per share in what has been a strong rebound from a disappointing second half of 2018.

InvoCare shares have rocketed 58.2% higher so far this year as the company reported strong half-year earnings and an expected increase in Australian mortality rates through to 2034.

The Aussie funeral provider does offer diversification benefits to investors, given the counter-cyclical nature of its operations and boasts a market cap of $1.89 billion.

I could see the InvoCare share price pushing towards its all-time high of $17.75 (reached in November 2017), particularly as we enter the winter months in Australia.

Orica Ltd (ASX: ORI)

The Orica share price climbed 1.5% higher despite no announcements from the Aussie chemicals group as it marched to a 52-week high of $20.86 per share.

With a market cap of nearly $8 billion, Orica is a big name player on the ASX, but I would be wary of buying the stock given its P/E multiple of 36.9x.

A rebound in mining has boosted demand for Orica’s core mining explosives business and I’d be waiting until full-year earnings in August before looking to purchase shares.

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Motley Fool contributor Lachlan Hall has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO and Appen Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended InvoCare Limited. 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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