Investing 101: Stocks Reaching 52-Week Highs on Big Money Inflows

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(List compiled by Becca Lipman)

If you are an investor that likes to go with the trend, this list may offer an interesting starting point for new additions to your portfolio.

To compile this list we looked for companies that satisfied the following characteristics:

- Market Cap above $300 Million 
- Trading 0-3% from the 52-Week High
- Experienced positive money flows from institutional investors over the last two quarters

Want to dig deeper into these terms and find out why they are important indicators when analyzing a stock's value? You got it:

Market Capitalization (Market Cap):  Market capitalization, commonly referred to as market cap, is the total market value of a company's outstanding shares. It can be thought of as a measure of company's size. It can be calculated by multiplying the number of shares by the current price of the shares. Companies with higher market cap are considered to have more trustworthy information because they have greater histories of profitability and data.

The 52-Week High  is the highest price paid for a share of the company in the last 52 weeks (one year). 

The 52-Week Low  is the lowest price paid for a share of a given stock in the last 52 weeks (one year).

Institutional investors  are also known as "big money" investors or managers. They represent big pools of money such as investment banks, pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, endowment funds, etc. When they invest in stocks, they can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars or more at one time. These transactions, called "block trades," can have a significant effect on share prices.

Because institutional investors handle such large amounts of money, it is easy enough to assume that the big money managers know what they are doing -- or at the very least know more than the average investor. This is why these investors are also sometimes referred to as "smart money."

If institutional investors start investing in a company, regular investors can assume that some of the most talented analysts and money managers expect the company's share prices to increase over time. The stocks on our list are experiencing significant investment from big money.

Now that you're armed with information, take a look at the list of stocks meeting the above requirements. Use the list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

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List sorted by institutional purchases as a % of share float.

1. ZAGG Incorporated (ZAGG): Specialty Retail Industry. Market cap of $394.13M. Current price at $16.48. This stock is trading -2.49% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 3.6M shares during the current quarter. This represents 27.27% of the company's 13.20M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 74.33% (equivalent to 5.18 days of average volume). Exhibiting strong upside momentum--currently trading 10.44% above its SMA20, 25.88% above its SMA50, and 73.84% above its SMA200. The stock has had a good month, gaining 25.29%.

2. Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. (PEET): Processed & Packaged Goods Industry. Market cap of $770.99M. Current price at $62.67. This stock is trading -0.3% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 2.3M shares during the current quarter. This represents 18.25% of the company's 12.60M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 25.02% (equivalent to 18.37 days of average volume). The stock has gained 43.43% over the last year.

3. Quality Distribution Inc. (QLTY): Trucking Industry. Market cap of $300.64M. Current price at $13.27. This stock is trading -2.78% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 2.5M shares during the current quarter. This represents 16.77% of the company's 14.91M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.47). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.88% over the last week.

4. Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (ABG): Auto Dealerships Industry. Market cap of $673.55M. Current price at $21.41. This stock is trading -2.68% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 2.9M shares during the current quarter. This represents 15.03% of the company's 19.29M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.84). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 14.49% (equivalent to 11.33 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 11.32%.

5. MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (MKTX): Investment Brokerage Industry. Market cap of $997.50M. Current price at $26.9. This stock is trading -0.37% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 4.9M shares during the current quarter. This represents 14.39% of the company's 34.04M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.38% over the last week.

6. PriceSmart Inc. (PSMT): Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $1.74B. Current price at $61.28. This stock is trading -1.59% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 2.0M shares during the current quarter. This represents 10.99% of the company's 18.20M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.36% (equivalent to 7.92 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 10.65%.

7. Cypress Sharpridge Investments, Inc. (CYS): REIT Industry. Market cap of $1.06B. Current price at $12.95. This stock is trading -2.04% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 7.0M shares during the current quarter. This represents 8.59% of the company's 81.52M share float. The stock has gained 13.29% over the last year.

8. Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (HPY): Business Services Industry. Market cap of $844.41M. Current price at $22.5. This stock is trading -2.2% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 3.1M shares during the current quarter. This represents 8.24% of the company's 37.63M share float. Exhibiting strong upside momentum--currently trading 10.27% above its SMA20, 13.38% above its SMA50, and 26.96% above its SMA200. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 12.42% over the last week.

9. j2 Global Communications, Inc. (JCOM): Internet Software & Services Industry. Market cap of $1.19B. Current price at $30.53. This stock is trading -1.39% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 3.2M shares during the current quarter. This represents 7.28% of the company's 43.94M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.77% (equivalent to 21.49 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 7.18% over the last week.

10. Lubrizol Corporation (LZ): Specialty Chemicals Industry. Market cap of $8.65B. Current price at $134.6. This stock is trading -1.15% below its 52-week high. On a net basis, institutional investors bought 3.5M shares during the current quarter. This represents 6.03% of the company's 58.05M share float. The stock has gained 42.63% over the last year.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks


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