When most investors are on the hunt for a good stock to buy, they begin their search by looking for what is cheap. While that can be a sound long-term strategy, it is a mistake to explicitly exclude companies that are trading near their 52-week high from your shopping list. After all, stocks go up, for the most part, because they are doing something right. If they can keep that business momentum going into the future, then more upside is possible ahead.
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With that in mind, we asked a team of Fools to highlight a stock that is trading near its 52-week high that they still believe is worth buying today. Read on to see why they picked NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), Verisk Analytics(NASDAQ: VRSK), and UPS (NYSE: UPS).
A good business at a fair price
Matt DiLallo(UPS):Shares of global logistics giant UPS are far from a bargain, especially after surging to a new high in the past week. That recent rise pushed the company's price-to-earnings multiple up to 20, which is a premium to the market's historical median average of 14.6. That said, the market is currently trading at a lofty 25 times earnings, so UPS is actually trading at a pretty compelling discount to the broader market.
That below-market priceis hard to justify given that the underlying business at UPS is doing pretty well. In the recently completed third quarter, for example, both revenue and earnings edged up by the low to mid single digits, driven by growing e-commerce demand. That has the company on pace to meet its full-year outlook. And UPS pays agenerous dividend, currently yielding 2.8% despite the recent high, which is well above the market average of 2%.
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Add it all up and you have a good business that's selling for a fair price. Over the long term, these types of investments tend to do very well, which is why UPS stock still looks worth buying today.
The best database in the business
Brian Feroldi(Verisk Analytics):Verisk Analytics has been on a nice run in 2016, and it is not hard to understand why. The company provides tools and dataanalyticsthat help other businesses to measure and manage their risk. With data going back all the way to the company's founding in 1971, Verisk offers insights that no other data provider can claim.
Verisk's primary customers are property and casualty insurers, but more recently it has made efforts to expand its reach. Its customers can now be found in a variety of sectors, such as chemicals, financial services, energy, and more. That diversification helps to keep its business growing even if one of the industries that it serves isn't doing so well.
What's great about this business is that 80% of its revenue is subscription-based, which makes its financial results very predictable. That has helped to ensure that the company's revenue and profits continually head in the same direction over time.
In total, Verisk is an excellent business that has a long history of success, so it is no surprise to see that shares are hovering right around their 52-week high. Still, I think that this is such a high-quality company that buying all the way up here will still provide investors with strong returns over time.
Visualizing even more market-beating growth
Steve Symington(NVIDIA):I was lucky enough to have bought my first shares of NVIDIAover six years ago in the $10 to $12 range. And this past Friday I smiled when I saw shares of the graphics-chip specialist skyrocket nearly 30% on the day thanks to its latest stronger-than-expected quarterly report, leaving NVIDIA stock at a fresh all-time high of just below $88 per share.
But while I pounded the table for investors to pick up shares of NVIDIA last month as a strong dividend-growth play, I'm also a firm proponent of the idea that winners keep on winning. And I think NVIDIA stock has even more room to run higher from here.
After all, revenue at NVIDIA's core gaming segment last quarter grew 63% year over year, to $1.2 billion, driven by the launch of its wildly popular Pascal architecture. And NVIDIA's data center revenue nearly tripled over the same period, to $240 million, thanks to broad-based growth in artificial intellignce and supercomputing applications, as well as strong demand for its GRID graphics-virtualization platform.
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Similarly, sales from NVIDIA's automotive segment grew 61%, to $240 million.But NVIDIA's automotive efforts are also still primarily driven by its chips' inclusion in premium infotainment products, which represent a fraction of the multibillion-dollar market its innovative DRIVE PX 2 self-driving vehicle platform aims to tackle. The company is making encouraging progress to that end -- DRIVE PX 2 even won a coveted spot last quarter to power a new autopilot system in all of Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ: TSLA) factory-produced vehicles going forward, including the Model S, Model X, and Model 3. And NVIDIA struck separate partnerships during the quarter with both Baiduand TomTomcentering on applying artificial intelligence to self-driving vehicles and their respective mapping systems.
For patient investors willing to buy NVIDIA stock now -- even after its recent meteoric rise -- I think the company is only just getting started.
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Brian Feroldi owns shares of Baidu, Tesla Motors, and Verisk Analytics. Matt DiLallo owns shares of Baidu and Verisk Analytics. Steve Symington owns shares of Nvidia. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Baidu, Nvidia, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Verisk Analytics. The Motley Fool recommends United Parcel Service. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.